April 30th, 2014
I can still remember holding my Bible on my lap and underlining this short but powerful verse as my minister preached a sermon about Paul’s attitude of joy even as he sat in a prison cell because of his belief in Jesus.
I knew in that moment that I wanted to have that same kind of joy my whole life.
I didn’t realize though that along the way, my life would get very, very difficult.
I didn’t know all the things that would come my way as my little hand held a pen and marked the words,
“Rejoice in the Lord always.”
But in my heart, I did know this:
Those words meant something to me.
They were powerful.
I needed to claim them.
And even though I’ve battled depression in my adult life as I’ve walked the road of grief after losing two children; I can honestly say that I understand deeply the meaning and importance of Christian joy.
Like Paul, I have slowly learned to be content in all circumstances. (Phil 4:12)
I have learned that God truly can turn tears into songs of joy. (Psalm 126:5)
It’s because of Him that our family can “Celebrate Everything!”
It’s because of Him that every day can bring a reason to smile and laugh.
I am so thankful for a minister who shared about Paul when I was young and just beginning to form my personal philosophy of life.
I am thankful for Paul who could pen such powerful words even as his own life was in jeopardy,
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, Rejoice!”
Today is Tim’s birthday!
We will celebrate today even as we remember that this day also marks the end of Adrienne’s earthly life.
We will celebrate because God has provided us with a Hope that DOES NOT DISAPPOINT!! (Romans 5:5)
Because of our living Hope, we know we will see Adrienne again; and that alone is a reason to celebrate!
I hope you will find reasons to celebrate today!
Happy Birthday, Tim!!
Happy Wednesday to all of you!!
I love you all so much!!
April 29th, 2014
In a world filled with so many nations and people,
it’s easy to convince ourselves that God is way too busy to for our small struggles, our everyday concerns.
Even in my own life, I find things on my to-do list being pushed from today to tomorrow to the next day, so how in the world could God possibly remain intimately involved in all of our lives at the same time?
I love the words in Psalm 8 that say,
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your finger, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
I love that early in the history of man, people were already wondering the same thing.
How could God be mindful of and care for mankind in the midst of all of His creations,
the heavens, the moon, and the stars?
And yet He is.
He knows the number of hairs on our head.
He knows our coming and our going.
He knows our thoughts before we even think them.
He knows when we rise up and when lie down.
The devil would love to convince us that God is too busy, too preoccupied, too distant to truly know what we are facing in life.
He would love for us to live with a sense of “separateness” from God.
That’s his ultimate goal…………………to separate us from our Creator and Father.
God, however, through His Word, through prayer, through other Christians, and through nature longs to draw us daily closer and closer to Him.
He is right where you are this very second.
He is right where I am too.
And He cares about every single detail of your day.
He knows when your life is going great, and He knows when you are barely hanging on.
Today, invite Him into your good times and your bad times.
Allow Him to become your best friend.
Turn to Him first when you feel lonely
Turn to Him first when you feel sad.
Turn to Him first when you feel happy.
He is with you.
Nick’s favorite verse says it so beautifully.
Cling to it today.
God sees you hanging on, and He is incredibly mindful of you.
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
April 28th, 2014
Imagine an island covered with tiny huts or a forest filled with little cabins.
As you move from one make-shift home to the next you discover that only one has a secure roof. All the rest give no protection from the sun, the rain, or the wind.
Where would you live if given the choice?
I think we would all choose a home with a secure roof.
Our journey through life is a lot like a stroll across this island or through these woods.
God gives us a choice of where to live all along the way.
He is not a God who forces His way into our lives, but He does make it very clear that our decisions affect our quality of life.
If we are longing for rest in this world, we need to take a good look at where we have chosen to dwell.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.
It’s almost like a formula:
Dwelling here = Resting there
In my own life, I’ve found that my seasons of unrest seem to line right up with y seasons of trying to live my life outside the protection of God’s shelter.
Sometimes it takes a lot of rain, a lot of sun, or a lot of wind to wake me up to the fact that I am not where I need to be spiritually.
But when I get it – when I finally look up and realize I’m no longer dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty, I love that God is right there waiting for me.
It’s as if He has my resting place reserved and ready.
I just have to arrive and take up residence.
Today, if you’re feeling unsteady, restless, or unsure, take a good look at where you’re dwelling.
Are you close enough to God to dwell in His shadow?
If not, walk closer to Him today.
Start your week in His presence.
Give Him all of you, and you will quickly find yourself freed up from the cares of this world.
He longs to become your protection from the brutal forces of this life.
He also longs to fill your days with every good and perfect gift.
When I think about dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty, I feel safe and secure because I know His shadow is steadfast and trustworthy.
James explains it this way,
Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
Today, consider where you’re dwelling.
If you’re not finding rest there, it’s time to move closer to Him who loves you most.
April 28th, 2014
Faith is not clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.
April 25th, 2014
My Bible reading for today, April 25th, included Psalm 121.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel.
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
There’s something powerful about “lifting up of our eyes to the mountains.”
The choosing to look up when help is needed.
The decision NOT to stay focused on earthly things even when earthly things could easily demand all of our attention.
I remember doing Beth Moore‘s study of the Psalms in Sunday school several years ago. She talked about the fact that in Old Testament times when you lifted your eyes to the mountains you could literally see a line of small fires all across the mountaintops where people who did not know the One true and living God were offering sacrifices to all sorts of false gods in hopes of pleasing someone who could help them.
So, when the Israelites lifted their eyes, two things happen.
First, they were reminded that their help comes from God.
Second, they were reminded that many people still did not know God as their Lord.
When Nick was sick, my mom was driving to our house one day when she looked up to the sky and saw a cloud in the shape of thumbs-up. She was able to reach into her purse while driving and find her camera and snap a photo of this cloud just as it was sinking below the line of the hills beside the road.
This photograph became a visual for our family.
A reminder that God was with us every step of the way in Nick’s illness.
We had been photographing friends and family with their thumbs up with Nick throughout his surgery and recovery, and this cloud seemed to be God’s way of visually joining us on Nick’s journey.
People began sending thumbs up photographs to us from all over the world.
To this day, the thumbs-up symbol reminds me of God’s love and the cloud my mom saw as she looked up on a very difficult day in our family’s life.
Over time, we were given three different thumbs-up statues by different friends from different places.
Every time one appeared at our door, we were reminded that we are not alone.
If you ever visit our home, you will see these statues sitting on shelves in different rooms.
I look at them often and smile.
I remember what they mean to our family.
I am convinced more and more every day that looking up for help is the only way to survive and thrive in an often-painful world.
I don’t know where I’d be today without passages like Psalm 121. Passages that remind me that I serve
a God who will not let my feet slip,
a God who does not slumber who sleep,
a God who watches over me,
a God who is the shade at my right hand so that the sun will not harm me by day or the moon by night,
a God who sees my coming and my going,
and a God who is with me now and forevermore.
Today, lift your eyes to Him who loves you most and watch what happens.
I don’t think you’ll ever look down again.
April 23rd, 2014
April 22nd, 2014
April 21st, 2014
April 18th, 2014
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
April 16th, 2014