December 31, 2012

snapshots of grace.

 I contemplated doing the "end of the year" post as I was scrolling through pictures on my computer. I was overwhelmed with this one thought.. this was a year of grace. Rich, undeserved, merciful grace. This year was up and down, it was both bitter and sweet. This year brought a lot of tears and heartache and a lot of rejoicing. But in all of it I can see that the loving Father was the master Artist, weaving and shaping everything together for my good. He ordained some things I don't understand yet, and changed my plans quicker then I thought I could handle. In so many ways I still feel like I'm stuck in the undertow and everyday is a fight. I haven't arrived yet, but I know I won't until that sweet day in heaven. But looking at 2012 I see a common theme of amazing grace. Grace to sustain, grace to encourage, grace to step forward, grace to fall, grace to rest. I know that in the coming years, each year will prove the same. I'll be able to point to the suffering and heartbreak but I know that he's using it to make me more like him. He's calling me to himself, and I pray that each year that comes and goes will prove a stronger declaration of how sweet it is to trust in Jesus.

December 17, 2012

Long expected Jesus.


Come thou long expected Jesus 
Born to set thy people free 
From our fears and sins release us 
Let us find our rest in thee 

Israel’s strength and consolation 
Hope of all the earth thou art 
Dear desire of every nation 
Joy of every longing heart 

Born thy people to deliver 
Born a child and yet a king 
Born to reign forever 
Now thy gracious kingdom bring 

By thine own eternal spirit 
Rule in all our hearts alone 
By thine all sufficient merit 
Raise us to thy glorious throne 

Sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my mom to be done at the MS clinic, a regular, soon to be very regular occurrence for her.  Experimental drug trials, though free and a unique blessing, are exhausting, time consuming and sometimes risky. My mom is a perfect example of someone living in the goodness and sustaining grace of the Father. Someone who is longing for Jesus return, longing for a new body that works properly, pain free, but that says "Hallelujah all I have is Christ." 

There are seasons when you can't seem to get out the words, you don't have the strength or clarity to imagine a world where you don't struggle with your finances, difficult friendships, illness, failing marriages, constant loneliness, haunting depression. Father, pain is very real, emotional, physically or mental battles are exactly that, battles. So for all the circumstances that we'll face today that will leave us tongue tied and tempt us to discouragement, I pray for a tangible grace to get out of bed and choose you. May our hearts turn to you and your promises so that we can sing, "Come thou long expected Jesus, Joy of every longing heart, Let us find our rest in thee." Jesus you are the cure for every spiritual disease. You came, you met our greatest need and provided a way for us to be adopted as sons and daughters of the King. Our hearts our wired for you, they long for heaven and so we pray for more of you while we live our lives here in this fractured world. 

December 6, 2012

Outwardly rich, inwardly dying.

"So we do not lose heart. fThough our outer self4 is wasting away, gour inner self his being renewed day by day. 17 For ithis light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 jas we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

Too often as Christians, we feel the need to fake, fudge, or push our way through trials and struggles rather then being transparent. We choose to live outwardly rich, inwardly dying lives. But when we do this we fail to see all the people around us, people just like us, fighting the same things.

Too often I look at my own heart and say, "Come on! You're still here, still fighting? " or,  "You've given up, you're lukewarm, apathetic!". How quickly do I feel lonely? Isolate myself? Beat myself up over my failures? Choke on memories of failed friendships, feel the sting of regret regarding far too many harsh words? How often do I wallow in my brokenness. Marinating in bitterness, ashamed, alone and all the while secretly loving it.

Father I'm sick of it. I'm sick of this pathetic attempt to "be okay" through this desert like season. I look around at people I love and I see them dragging their feet in the sand along with me and I'm asking you to forgive me! Forgive us, for a lack of faith! For a lack of trusting your sustaining grace in our lives. For loading up our camels and confidently saying "Lord, I can get there alone." Forgive where I've been hardened and become bitter towards you. Forgive us for heaping expectation and hope on things that will not last. Forgive us for believing that we can keep our heads down and wait out this storm. I know you're a loving Father that welcomes and more than that, runs and greets with a celebration, his younger and elder prodigals home. It's either pride or discouragement, so Father help us hear your voice calling out to us saying, "Come in out of the storm, I'm enough for you." And help us lives live that's proudly proclaim how broken and loved we are by a rich, gracious Father. 

Hallelujah that no matter how lukewarm, tired, burnt out, I am you never change. Your love, grace and mercy don't ever falter, you never get thrown off or surprised by anything. You never change your mind or loose traction. You don't trip, fall or even stumble. Your hand is steady and just. You love your children and paid the ultimate price so that we could call you Father and attempt to glorify you with our lives. Help me today to remember who you are and what you've done more then how i've failed. But when those thoughts come, and oh how timely they roll into the forefront of my brain, I pray that they would only make me more aware of you. 

November 12, 2012

Leave the trifle.

"And you who have no money, come, buy and eat." (Isaiah 55) 

Let's put this into context. I don't like go to someone's house and not bring something. Dessert, bread, wine, something! I don't go to a formal party if I haven't had time to go home, get ready and change out of my jeans. I don't go to the store to buy dinner's ingredients without my wallet, and if I do, I angrily drive home and pick it up.

I think for most people, especially me, I feel like if I can't contribute or prepare in some way the invitation isn't as sweet. You get hung up on the details of how you're going to get, there, the dress you have to buy, the dessert you have to make. So what happens when you don't have money to buy the new dress, or time to make the fancy dessert? You obsess, worry, panic, and decide not to go. The invitation to the party isn't a joy anymore, it's a burden.

So often, this is how I feel about coming to the Lord. In my mind I feel like he's sending this invitation and expecting me to show up in a certain state. Cleaned up, patched up, and with a chocolate trifle in hand. This verse reminds me that I have nothing, and I'm supposed to come, buy and eat.

This invitation is greater and sweeter than any other invitation I've ever recieved. My loving father is saying, "I know you have nothing, I know you're bloody, broken, messy, poor, needy, and no matter how hard you try to cover that up I know who you are, and I want you to just come. There is spot reserved at the banquet hall, a place card with your name. Come boldly to my table and eat, don't waste yourself on things that leave you wanting. Come to me, humble yourself and experience rest."

November 2, 2012

You can't have me.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.] Cor 5:17

Father thank you that you have made a way, that I am a new creation. On days when everything else is grabbing for my attention, shoving itself into my affections and stirring up anxiety. Exhaustion from the week, the month, heck, the year. All of that fades away in this tiny little verse. It's rich in truth and offers a unique dose of satisfaction for this restless heart. The old has gone, the new has come. It's finished.  My greatest need has been met by my heavenly Father, so this effects the way I live each day. 

[So the battle against evil is not to constantly say "No, no, no. Bad, bad, bad." There's no power in that. One thing will give you the victory: Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. And faith is a being satisfied in all that God is for us in Jesus Christ. You've got to stoke that engine every morning so that the evils that are clawing at you lose its fangs. You can't have me, I've seen Jesus this morning. Lust, you can't have me. Greed, you can't have me. Fear of man, you can't have me. Bitterness and anger, you can't have me. I've seen Jesus this morning.] Piper

Jesus I need your help. This morning, this afternoon and for sleeping tonight. I need to be able to say, fear, anxiety, doubt, wandering and wondering, you don't have me. You hold no power over me. I'm safe and secure in Jesus. I am his and he is mine. You can't have me. I've seen Jesus, I'm loved by Jesus, and he's made me a new creation. This is all I need. Be still my soul and know this peace. 
You welcome me and give me truths like in James, [if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all] James 1:5 or in Romans [what then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.] Romans 8:31-32.

Verses like that that remind me that I can't muster up anywhere near enough willpower to fight the temptations of my flesh, to battle the pangs of discouragement, or wrestle through confusion and doubt. I am weak and my it's evident in the past week alone, stress and fear slowly can take over your life. That's what happens when I try to just say, "No, no, no. I can, I got this, I'm good." I could keep going like this, but I'm not sure how long I would make it. Jesus is patiently saying, come here, get over here. Let me take it, I want to help, the old has gone. 

October 18, 2012

lies, lies, lies.

[For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.]

Father, my heart is rejoicing at the encouragement and sustaining power of verses like this one. The anxious, fidgety, restless doubter that is fighting for control is hushed by verses like this. The headaches caused by tension  in my neck and shoulders, the stomach that's flopping and making eating meals a chore and food tasteless are all attacks by the enemy. Father, stress and anxiety, fear and unbelief is out to destroy me. It wants to control and limit how I think of you because when fear is in control, you seem little, you seem powerless. Fear takes little things and magnifies them. Fear puts myself and my well being in the center of my life, it makes my issues, my life the most important thing. Suddenly my standing with you doesn't seem to be such a big deal. It's like saying God you are good, but only when life is going well, only when fear is at bay. 

Lies, lies, lies! Soul, don't fall into these lies! I understand verses that urge a war mentality against fear and anxiety.  I find myself thinking I can't be the only person that struggles this aggressively with fear. The most amazing thing is that you, my loving Father gave me all the tools I need to attack fear, doubt and anxiety. You gave me your Son, your word and your spirit. 

Father today it's a battle again, and tomorrow will probably be one as well. Thank you for your sustaining grace and endurance to keep going and pushing into you. Thank you for giving me your spirit that convicts and supplies encouragement. Thank you for verse like this one, [plans for welfare and not evil, to give you future and a hope]. Fear, anxiety, doubt, confusion, restlessness, Jesus died on the cross to crush you. He declared it finished, and so ends your rule and power in my life. It's through Jesus blood I can say, you hold no power over me. 

October 8, 2012

A little Canadian Thanksgiving.


This morning I'm thankful for a heap of things. I think it's easier some times to recognize what's missing or lacking in your life then to stop and thank God for the many mercies even among the trials.

I'm thankful for my family and even when though we've gotten older and more spread out, the time together becomes more precious and sacred. I'm thankful for friends who help ease the pain of being away from family, friends that stick out the good times and the bad, friends that care for your needs and your soul. I'm thankful for FaceTime and Skype and GoogleVoice and that I live in a time and age that I can connect across thousands of miles. I'm thankful for my church back home and the work that's being done, the community that's being built. I'm thankful for "home for now" church and the care and warmth I've experienced in my time here. I'm thankful for good health for the people dear to me. I'm thankful for sustaining grace for those who are suffering and battling illness, your mercy and grace is new every morning. I'm thankful for your living word, that speaks and convicts, that shapes and changes us. I'm thankful that I live comfortably, without the stress or fear of physical harm. I could keep listing, and listing, I could get really specific and I would loose count of the pages.

But I realize all these things are only possible because you sent your son for me on the cross. This sweetens my ability to be thankful. This stirs up a different kind of joy and appreciation in my heart for the "simple" things in life. Father, it's all a gift from you. Tune my heart to sing your praise, not just on Thanksgiving Day but on every day that there is breath in my lungs.

October 3, 2012

tunnel vision



[Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.] Romans 8

[You are not a distant, disconnected, dispassionate Savior. You're presently making all things new, and this involves showing up in the messes and madness of life. Where there is injustice, disease, brokenness and suffering, that's where you will be found, and where you call us to meet you.] Scotty Smith

Father this morning I need grace. I need grace to believe what I'm reading, I need grace to trust in what I know is true, I need grace to trust that you're in the messiness of life. Your sustaining my life, and every breath my body inhales and exhales is a test of that sustaining grace. My head knows I'm planted on the Rock of Ages, but my heart is fearful, Father help my excercise my feet so that I can feel the solid rock under them. I need to see, and feel to know that these things are true, and fortunately I don't have to look further then the gospel. The reassuring thing is that I'm planted, even I can't see it or feel it, because you promise it. Sometimes I get tunnel vision and become blinded to the most obvious things. Supply the courage to go to your word, see endless examples of your faithfulness and fulfilled promises. Father help me to believe what is right in front of my face.

October 1, 2012




[For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.] Romans 9

Father this week you've been reminding me that the only place my soul is satisfied is in you. Winds pick up and thunder rumbles and so quickly I try to grab onto whatever I can to steady myself. Father, I'm so grateful I don't need to steady myself on anything more then Gospel. I can't find security in anything else.

You made us image bearers of you. You sent your son to die in our place so that we can come to you as your kids even though our sin had factored that relationship. My identity, my life my plans, my future, is secure in you. You bring clarity and security in the middle of the storm. You promise hope and shelter to the wandering and healing to the broken.

I cannot understand why you would choose to use such weak, broken, vessels to reflect your majesty but Father my heart is full this morning. Knowing that you know everything and all I am called to do is pursue knowing you. It's all about you, and I can't screw that up.

September 23, 2012

You Never Change

Father, thank you for today. Thank you for this beautiful fall weather. The crunchy leaves, brisk breeze, and clear skies. Thank you for quiet Sunday mornings and for your Scriptures. Thank you that they aren't just man's opinions or enlightenment, but God breathed. I pray this morning that I would be able to slow down and see you clearly. In your Word you promise rest to the weary and strength to the weak, but I know you can provide focus for the distracted. 

I know that my faith and dependance on you fluctuates like the sea level. One moment the waves are lapping up on the beach, stretching and striving closer to the shore. Then, not a few hours later, the ocean looks as though someone unplugged a big drain, miles and miles out and the water can't fight its powerful tow. Funny thing is, you designed it that way, you designed animals perfectly suited for these ever changing waves. You designed ecosystems and delicate and intricate time-tables. Never once does a drop of water go further then you intended. Never once does a current pattern change or a storm surge without you willing it. Although it seems wild and unbridled to me, you are completely in control. 

Father open my eyes to see how you're sustaining and guiding every detail of today, every choice that I'm faced with or every success or failure I encounter. It's not outside of your control or a surprise to you. Hallelujah to a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and always loving. Amen.

[In his hands are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come and worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.] Psalms 95

September 18, 2012

Mess is mess.



Father firstly I'm so grateful that I can come talk to you freely. Hidden messes or exposed messes, either way we need you. You are faithful to stand there, greeting prodigals and reassuring elder sons. Constantly demonstrating your love and patience. I don't understand it enough, I can't begin to wrap my head around those truths. The fraction I can see I'm humbled. I want to pray this morning for a really specific prayer, one that seems timely to so many dear friends and family in this season and I know for me too.

Father I pray that your Gospel would be a thousand times louder than any other noise. The regret of missed opportunities, condemnation about ferris-wheel-like sin circling round and round, bitterness of hurt relationships. These things are very loud. They deafen our ears and disorientate our hearts. Father I know you are bigger than all those things. Your son died on the cross, a sinners death in my place. I have the freedom to stand and look at fear in the face and say, you're defeated, you're finished. You hold no power of me because my Father promises nothing can separate me from him.

For those who are in the trenches of discouragement, frozen in fear right now, I pray that you would lift our eyes to see your finished work. Father you weren't swept up in the emotion of the moment when your Son cried out, "It is finished". You finished it. So in light of that, give strength to the weak, give grace and patience to the frustrated, give love to the bitter, hope to the depressed.

Ultimately Lord my heart is longing for heaven. Oh the day when there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more pain. But until that day comes we're here, fighting sin, overwhelmed, despairing, lonely, struggling. Give us your spirit to remind us we're not alone, give us community to grow with, give us suffering to point us to you, give us grace to sing loudly of your amazing FINISHED work. Amen.

September 11, 2012

this solid ground


Father this morning I'm reminded of the power of singing. I woke up tired, aware of my growing to do list and very aware of where I've failed. I feel like flopping back into bed and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls. I know I need to open your word, but it's been days and any motivation I did have has been zapped by a busy week and guilt. I know I need it but I know my flesh is too loud to read over it. Skip forward 40 minutes getting into the car and I still know I need truth, in a tired effort I put on some Christian classics. Not ten minutes later I'm crying, stopped at a red light. Music is powerful, music with truth breaks us down.

[Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find]

A practical choice to stop listening to whatever I'm listening to the most, opinions, myself, culture, whatever it may be. When I make the choice to sing to you, I'm drowning out lies with truth, I'm reciting the truth of the gospel. Singing songs of your faithfulness, your forgiveness and acceptance. It's a clear acknowledgment of my failings and my need for a savior.

Help me be a person that sings often, sings loudly, sings with joy. Help me be a person that meditates on truth so that joy overflows. In the middle of any trial help me find safety and remember who I am and who you are when i'm singing truths of your Gospel.

[Tune my heart to sing your praise.]

September 10, 2012

minor and major needs for gospel

[Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not.] Psalms 37:7

In the late 90's there was this boy band, they wrote this song, it was awful and unfortunately really, really, catchy. The chorus went, "Oop's I did it again", do I need to say more, or are you tracking?

Father that's where I'm at again, thinking, how in the world am I back here? When in reality I know exactly how I got where I am... In fact I know this road all too well. I don't know how to word it eloquently, but I know what I'm feeling and (by your grace) I know what I need. 

I'm feeling a little too much. I'm listening to those feelings a little too often. They are preaching lies and I'm soaking them in. Father stop me dead in my tracks, turn of my brain, turn off my fears, give me a sweet little thing called perspective and remind me specifically of the gospel. Wipe out the lies that I've willingly accepted, remind me of that you died for my sin and any guilt I feel is false guilt. Tune my heart to hear conviction and turn quickly to your abounding grace. 

Father for the days like today when I feel like saying, tag your in, remind me that you already are "in". I'm not in this alone, you've made the way possible. Thank you for hearing, and caring for meltdowns of minor and epic measures. 

[But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.] Psalms 13:5

August 30, 2012

love is.


[ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ] 1 Cor. 13

Father I don't know how to love like that, I don't even know where to start. I am so grateful that you pursue me with that kind of love. You are patient and kind, you rejoice with me, you bear all, endure all, and are faithful to see me through. There has never been such an example of love as when you sent your only Son to die for my sin.  

So how are we called to love? How does a broken person move towards another broken person in love? Musician, Ingrid Michaelson has a line her song "Breakable " that always painted a vivid picture to me of how frail we are..."Have you ever thought about, what protects our heart? Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts." Don't get me wrong, the human body is a complex, incomprehensible design that is another clear demonstration of God's love for us. But we are fragile, we hurt, we bend, and we break.  

 I need to remember that I am broken, that I am your design and I'm living for that day when I will be made whole, I will be complete and restored. How my heart longs for that restoration. That day when I won't hurt others anymore, when I will be free from the bondage of sin, when I won't be breakable anymore. But until that day help me look to truths like Cor 13 and see a promise of your love, and also a command to love. 

C.S Lewis writes, [I think what one has to remember when people “hurt”, is that in 99 cases out of a 100 they intended to hurt very much less, or not at all, and are often quite unconscious of the whole thing. I’ve learned this from the cases in which I was the “hurter.” When I have been really wicked and angry and meant to be nasty, the other party never cared or even didn’t notice. On the other hand, when I have found out afterwards that I had deeply hurt someone, it has dearly always been quite unconscious on my part.]

Father inevitably I will be the"hurter" or the "hurt" at some point in the future, probably today. I pray for strength to love like you command me to. Help me to be patient, kind, humble, rejoicing in the strength and success of others, building others up, believing all things, hoping in all things, enduring all things, help me realize that the way I love, should never have a expiry date. I can only do these things by through you.

August 28, 2012

tiny piranhas

[Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.]

I've always liked the imagery in that verse, "and I ate them". I picture a desperate, determined, hungry, needy person. At the first chance devouring scripture, knowing that his life depends on it. So aware of his need that he literally will eat them. I know the scriptures are not encouraging people to start literally eating their bibles. I can venture a guess that you wouldn't feel anymore holy and actually just probably feel like an idiot with a stomach ache. 

But with such vivid imagery Jeremiah is obviously trying to make a point. Throughout the Bible scripture is described as life giving. And I think that's what we're suppose to see here. "Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart." There is a promise of satisfaction and joy when you're feasting on scripture. 

Father I don't have to tell you, because you know everything. But I confess that I've been feasting on many things, your word not being one of them. I've been eating up the opinions of others, words of friends or family. I've been drinking in culture, soaking up energy from its toxic promises. But most of all lately I've been wallowing, hungry, in the doorway of your banquet hall. You've welcomed me in and I can smell the delicious aroma's of your invitation. But I'm bogged down in my despair and self pity, too worn out to move. 

Jon Bloom writes on discouragement, [If we linger in discouragement it can be costly. Its sense of defeat and hopelessness saps us of energy and vision. It can consume a lot of time. It can keep us from doing what we need to do because we don’t want to face it. When we feel discouraged we want comfort, which is right to feel. But the comforts we often turn to are ways to avoid our fears rather than ways to muster our courage to face and overcome them. When this happens discouragement simply becomes sinful indulgence in unbelief, no different than indulging in lust or anger or other sins of unbelief.]

Father I want to thank you for your faithfulness to bring me out of this season of discouragement, not that it's fully gone, I don't know when it will be. It requires a daily, hourly, moment by moment fight somedays. Scotty Smith wrote a few days ago about days when it seems like you're swimming in a pool of tiny piranhas that are slowly nibbling away at your joy.  I cannot fight if I'm malnourished. I won't care to fight if I'm starving. I won't have the energy to get up and come to the table to feast if I'm not daily staying nourished. 

One of the pastors at my home church, David Smith said something in a prayer a long time ago that when we're cut by the world  we should be people who  bleed scripture, ooze the gospel. That is my prayer. Make me someone who prays before they act, listen before speak, read before they write. Make me one who needs, eats and bleeds scripture. Your grace meets me in my need, it is sweet and refreshing to my hungry soul. It's like the delicious appetizer that leads into the main course. Father I want to be like Jeremiah and depend upon scripture. I want it to be the only foundation for my joy.

August 27, 2012

be kind

I read once, "Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Initially I thought this had the sounds of a works based effort kind of success. Be a good person because, karma's going to get you. But the more I thought about it the more my heart broke at the truth of that statement. Isn't that how Jesus walked on this earth? Recognizing that everyone he met was broken, needing salvation, needing grace. People are fighting battles they never imagined they would be fighting. The death of a child, financial bondage, strained relationships, sickness, worry about the future, loneliness. No two battles should be compared because no two people are alike. By elevating your struggles you're minimizing theirs and treating other people as if "they just don't understand" or "this is harder for me" you're robbing them of the opportunity to experience rich grace. 

The most beautiful thing about grace is that it meets you directly in your need. [And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16] Unlike individual struggles and battles the grace doesn't differ from person to person. The gospel doesn't make light of need or hurt, no matter how big or small, Jesus is standing there, calling all who are weary, all who are broken hearted to come to him. Should this not shape how I love others? 

Should my view not be, "Be kind, be loving, extend grace, show mercy, because Christ loves that person and they need to be reminded of that. There in the trenches right now, they are fighting a hard battle."

Father forgive me for seeing my own needs above the needs of others. Forgive me for being quick to judge motives and forgetting that things are normally what they are, not what I think they might be. Help me to slow down and be patient with those people that are hard to be patient with. Guard my heart from discouragement, help me to look back on scripture and see the rich promises you fulfilled, help me to eagerly anticipate future fulfillment of your promises. I want to love like you do, and I can only do that if I'm looking to you, meditating on your word and depending on your grace. You are faithful, you are loving, you provide, your gospel does not change. Guard my heard against condemnation, because today I'm more aware of where I've failed in these areas then how you can redeem those failed attempts, selfish motives and bitter silence.

So today I'm coming to you low, realizing that I cannot handle today on my own. Comforted that your cross has crushed all condemnation and discouragement is merely a flashing arrow pointing me back to yourself. In you and only you does my soul find rest.

[May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has deliver us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption , the forgiveness of sins.] Colossians 1:11-14

August 13, 2012

You gave us a rainbow

Father the past few days I've been so thankful that your love for me isn't dependent on how I love you back. Hallelujah you don't give up on us as quickly as I give up on others. I get irritated and frustrated, bitter, offended, and take that as an excuse to wash my hands of it. When things get tough, relationships bend but that doesn't mean that they will break. You are the faithful healer and sustainer, you can redeem the most broken relationship, the deepest hurt, you and you alone can bring reconciliation. 

Father forgive me for putting to much hope in other people. Forgive me for heaping expectation on sinners and being surprised and offended by sin. Forgive me for not praying fervently for the broken, hurting people, in my life. Forgive me for selfishly thinking I don't have time to care or show the Gospel. 

This morning I'm coming low before your throne and pleading for those relationships in my life. Start in my heart Lord, give me a hunger for your Gospel reconciliation. My heart is prone to wander, so anchor my feet firmly on your solid rock so even though the hurricane of human offense and the emotional hailstorms will come, they will make me thankful for my anchor, not doubt the security of the rock. 

For those friends and family I know and love dearly who are walking through this hurricane season I pray that today you will shine more clear, more beautiful through the storm. I pray they would be able to stand up and realize that they are still standing firm on that rock. Though it feels like they've wandered and wavered, you're holding them steady. Peel back layers, days, weeks, years, of offense and hurt and reveal your Gospel. It's only through you that their heart can find rest. Lastly Lord give them hope, some of these storms have gone on forever and they've stopped looking, even longing for rescue. Bring relief, for your glory and your praise. Amen

Romans 5

[Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.]

July 31, 2012

tis' so sweet

[You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.] Ps. 30:11-12 

Oh Lord, so often I miss the opportunity to dance. You clearly put deliverance in my path, rescue from dangers, temptations, and failings. Your promise is yes and amen, your plan is righteous and good. Your love is perfect and rich, full of mercy and grace. You've met my biggest need, you sent your son as a sacrifice, as a mediator to die in my place and bridge the gap my sin had made. 

This is the only deliverance I need, the only song my heart needs to dance. But it's a song my heart knows well, one that is so familiar it can loose its impact. Not that this deliverance becomes any less amazing, but my feet get tired of the same rhythm and I get less inspired by the melody. I let noise like fear and anxiety creep in and muddy the mix. I don't trust my heavenly Father for anything, but rather hunch under the weight of my sin and struggles and shuffle along. 

Edward Welch says this about the Lords faithful deliverance, "For his daily, less noticeable deliverance I want the spirit to open my eyes so I can be thankful. For his mighty acts that appear at the eleventh hour, I want grace to trust him. But these after-the-fact deliverance's? I hardly know what to ask. What if you actually went through your worst nightmare, what then? Where was the deliverance? It means that there will be lots of sorrow as we walk through life, but we aspire to know sorrow that is mingled with hope. For subjects of King Jesus, death and tragedy are never the last word. The goodness of our God is certain."

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame. -Hebrews 12:2

Sinner, deliverance is sweet, inheritance is yours, there may be sorrow but because of your Father it is always mingled with HOPE, your Father loves you and welcomes you, come and dance.