Friday, December 6, 2013

A 12th Month Redemption

Good morning friends.

I was so blessed by this short devotional this morning I had to share it.

Whatever your memories so far this year, God is still able to redeem the time and bring blessing in such a miraculous way of reversal that His joy is what you recall from 2013.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Magnetic Hill

I always look for her every Sunday.  She sings in the choir and she is the happiest looking lady.  You have to notice her.  Others smile momentarily, but she glows.   The joy of the Lord radiates.  It's not a fake smile or one that forms upon recognition of someone in the congregation, it is birthed in Who's she is and all that Christ has done for her.

Recently I've heard or received several teachings about what being filled with Jesus looks like, or 'should' look like.  Those who know the Lord personally and intimately need to be going out of their way to celebrate the gift of Christ and His salvation.

Sitting at Tim Horton's last week, there were seven of us enjoying a time of friendship and fellowship.  There was laughter and sharing.  There was unmistakable joy.  Several times as I let my eyes wander to others sitting nearby, they were looking at us not in an annoying, be quiet kind of way, but in a longing, I wish I had that much fun kind of way.

My Pastor said last Sunday that Christianity should be a magnet.  We need to live Christianity lavishly in our communities.  Tozer writes that we need to deliberately encourage a desire of God.  Complacency is a foe.  Acute desire must be present.

Do you love coming to church and gathering with God's family?  Does your face show it?

Oh Lord, give us a holy longing and desire.  Birth a new freshness in our hearts.  May we be, as my Pastor said, gripped by the grandness of God's grace.  God's power on display in us can be breathtaking, captivating and inviting.

I don't know how many of you have ever visited Eastern Canada, but in Moncton, New Brunswick there is an attraction called "Magnetic Hill".  It's really a type of optical illusion.  When a car is placed in neutral at the base of the hill, it will begin to roll backwards, apparently uphill.  To observers it looks like the car is being drawn by an uncontrollable, magnetic force.

I was thinking last Sunday as my Pastor was sharing, that our church sits on a "hill".  Could we be our cities "Magnetic Hill"?  Could we become known as such a contagious collection of Christ-followers that others are drawn to come and check us out, desiring to see and know the Force that compels us?  In order for that to happen we need to put smiles on our faces and live with spectacular, radiant joy.

Can others really see Jesus in you today?

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

This and That

This. is. a. busy. season.

Over the past month or so I have been writing a blog post immediately after having my quiet time with the Lord first thing in the morning.  Discipline and time would coincide, but unfortunately right now, instead they collide.

It's so frustrating.  The Lord speaks to my heart.   I journal and get so excited.  Then I look at my clock.  I'm already running late for the days activities.  December is a happening month!

I'm also praying about what the Lord wants me to do in 2014.  Recently the Lord has brought the idea of an on-line chronological daily Bible reading endeavor  that would provide interaction and accountability to those wanting to stay consistently connected to God's Word.  So many need a place and a friend with whom to be accountable.  This would be a huge commitment for me.  Writing. Video's. Guest posts. Daily consistency.

(I have a Christian broadcast on in the background as I'm typing this and the speaker just said: "We need to be accountable!")

Waiting on the Lord for His direction.  Wondering if anyone would even be interested.   Then there's the four Bible Studies I'm keeping up with that will resume in January.  Lord, give me wisdom.

In other news, today my church hosted the Message of Hope, Christmas Event Special for ladies.  Over 200 women attended the catered breakfast and were encouraged to keep trusting the Lord.  It was a delightful morning.  One precious elderly lady who was visiting for the first time, shared with me through tears afterwards, that the morning reminded her of teaching she received in her childhood and how much she loved Jesus.  She shed tears.  Not tears of sadness, but tears of great love.  So overwhelmed by His love there is no other response.  Words fall short.  Emotions overflow.  I think sometimes tears are the most beautiful compliment of loving expression.

Anyway, just wanted to share what was going through my mind tonight.  I feel like I fail the days I don't have time to write here.  I can be very demanding on myself.

Not sure what tomorrow will hold.  I miss not being here daily.

I love all of you who take the time to visit. You are each so dear to my heart.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Easy Out

" imitators of God..." Ephesians 5:1

Did they really just say that?  I must have heard incorrect.  Yes, that was it; I had to have missed a word because they couldn't have said what I thought I heard.  Then the sentence was repeated again.  No, that's what was said.  Really?

Recently I heard someone say this more as a statement than a question:  Do you really think we should follow Jesus as our example?


Their thinking was that Jesus is perfect, making it impossible to truly follow Him.  We will never be able to walk completely in His footsteps.  His shoes are just too big to fill.  Maybe He's not realistic to follow.

OK, I'll grant you that there is only one Perfect, and that's Christ, but this isn't reason not to use Him as our Guide.  A student is only as good as their teacher.  Following a sinless Teacher we have the best example.  Others may fail and lead us astray, but there is no fear of that with Jesus.  Because of a sinless Savior we can always trust His teaching to be truth.  He is Truth.

Yes, His standard is high, and His commands unattainable on our own, but what is being suggested by this other way of thinking?  We lower the bar and accept less?   I would rather spend my life making Christ my goal.

Here's the thing.  Following Jesus we start off knowing that this side of heaven it's impossible to be completely like Him.  We have already failed.  If we instead follow a good, yet somewhat flawed guide, we can justify and excuse our own shortcomings and maybe we won't be expected to be quite so "holy".  I mean, we want a little "fun", right?  Following Jesus is going to mean submission and surrender.  On the whole, we're not usually great with either.  Life would be easier if we followed David or Paul, Jonah or even Abraham.  They all cut us a little slack.  But Jesus?  Really?

I guess one question would be what's your motive in following?  If obedience is rising from a heart of love and thankfulness for all He has done for you, there is absolutely nothing He could ask that would seem too much.

Another question might be, how are you trying to follow Him?  Are you doing it in your own strength?  No wonder you're weary.  It's only with God that all things become possible.

How full are you of self?  Are you pretty much in control and hate giving up the reigns?  Jesus requires us to deny self.

Yes, His Word calls us to be imitators of God, yet we continue to long for an easy out.

One more question.

Did He take the "easy out" for you?

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