People see God every day, they just don't recognize him. ~Pearl Bailey
Did you see God today? Whether you chose to acknowledge him or not, he was there. He was there in the morning sunrise. He was there in the thunderstorms and the rain. He was there when you daughter woke up cranky or your son woke up smiling. He was there when you spouse slipped out of bed long before you awoke, and He was there in the angry driver that cut you off in traffic.
He was there when your boss dropped a last-minute project on your plate. He was there when you had to work late. He was there when you got a promotion. He was there when you were unexpectedly let go. He was there when you said goodbye.
He was there when you came home, exhausted. He was there through dinner and a night off. He was there when you relaxed, when you laughed, when you cried. He was in your phone calls and in your nightly prayers.
He was there.
Did you feel him?
A few quiet moments during the day. Resting thoughts to focus your mind. Come face to face with the One who loves you. Be embraced. Cherished. Loved.
Monday, March 24, 2008
People see God every day, they just don't recognize him. ~Pearl Bailey
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I know, it's been awhile since Easter, and I actually do have several posts to type up, but I haven't been on this site this week...still, here is my Easter morning post...a little late...
"He is not here. He has risen, just as he said he would."
I'm not sure there have ever been more beautiful words to read. I can only imagine what it would have been like to experience. The worse moment in history is over and, like all friends and family mourning the death of a loved one, Jesus' family and friends are struggling to get on with their lives. It's a Sunday morning and two women are on the way to the tomb. When they get there, the stone is rolled away. Looking inside, the body is gone! Where did they take Jesus? Why would they take him?
Can you see it? The fear, the frustration, the sadness...they didn't even allow him a proper burial, did not allow His family and friends to mourn. All they want to do is say goodbye, and now it seems they cannot even do that.
Then, those words...
He is not here.
He has risen.
Just as he said he would.
God's promise fulfilled through tragedy and triumph. Death conquered. Peace will reign again.
The world kept spinning, the disciples kept living their lives, all the time the truth ringing in their ears, hearts, and lives. He is risen. He is risen.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Today is one of the few days in the last weeks of Jesus that we don't have a lot to talk about. He has been crucified - Jesus is dead. The hope that was there seems to be gone. It seems like Jesus could have been a fraud - after all, how could God die?
Although the Jews had read the prophesies and were waiting for the Messiah, they didn't believe it was Jesus. Was he a good man? Sure. Did he live a holy life? Yes. Was he the Son of God? For some reason they doubted his claims. After seeing the miracles and hearing the words, they still refused to believe that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be. And because of that refusal, there was silence as he died, and silence on that Saturday, as life seemed to go back to 'normal.'
A quiet Saturday was between a horrific death of a cross and an empty tomb. Every one of us experience a day just like that in our relationship with God. First, there is a death - your sin. Then there is a moment when you have to wrestle with the sin in your life and decide what to do next. Then, there is the Sunday - the promise that you have been forgiven now and forever.
On this Saturday, think about what happened yesterday - the sins, the falls, the moments where God seemed so far away. Then think about tomorrow - the joy, the hope, the promise that this is not there is all to life.
And may your tomorrow dawn full of kindness, grace, and the love of Christ now and forever. Amen.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Eternity hangs in the balance.
Jesus has accepted His fate.
Beaten and bloody, He begins the long walk to Calvary.
A rough cross.
Hands and feet pierced.
Hanging between life and death.
Last night at our communion service we were reminded that Jesus had the choice to live or die, to call heaven to his aid or to follow the path in front of Him. Sometimes I think that what happened on the cross was just destiny, it was what Jesus was born to do, so why would He not end up on the cross. And then I remember the sweating blood, the tears, the question - if it is possible, let this cup pass from me - and I remember that Jesus, as a man, had to choose to obey His father.
His choice saved you.
His choice saved me.
His choice opened the door of eternity for all humanity.
It wasn't long ago, just a blink of the eye in God's timing, that He turned away from His Son and the sin of the world from yesterday, today and tomorrow fell on Jesus all at once - and the darkest moment in history was upon Him. As God turned His eyes from His Son, He saw you and me and knew that anything was worth having us with Him forever.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." Mark 14:22-25
Today is the day. As Jesus looks at the world, He has to know that everything is about to change. All of eternity has been holding its breath, wondering if it would really happen. Would God really demand that sacrifice? Would Jesus really obey? Would the world really change tonight?
The pieces had already been put in motion and the earth was revolving toward resolution. As Jesus looked at his friends, his disciples, even his betrayer, he felt love. He knew the time was right, so when the hour was upon him, he broke the bread, offered the cup, and began a tradition which we hold tight to even today. The Lord's Supper was begun - a time to remember the broken body and the spilled blood that would serve as penance for all our sin.
Take a moment to think about your life. The times you've made mistakes, fallen down, and sinned against your God. The times everything has gone wrong and you've felt alone and isolated in the middle of your own pain. While you can't change the past, you can change the focus of your future.
- Next time you fall down, remember He fell on the road to Calvary, and He fell for you.
- Next time you can't see the sunlight through the pain, remember He was beaten for you.
- Next time you feel alone, remember He experienced something you never have to - complete isolation from God.
- Next time your life doesn't follow your plan, remember God's plan put His only son on a cross. For you. Forever.
Prayer: Father, help me to remember the sacrifice in the body and blood. Help me to remember what You did, You did for me. Not because you had to, but because you chose to. Not because You didn't know how much it would hurt, but because You wanted me close to you. Help me to remember that Your sacrifice renews my life. Forever. Amen.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees. ~Victor Hugo
Everyone has those moments when they feel far from God - they feel isolated and lonely in their own struggles and their own world. At those times, it's so easy to stop praying, to stop thinking about God and to focus on the worldly battle being fought around you. But, even during those darkest moments, God is still there - He is just as close as He was on the days you feel Him as He is on the days you cannot seem to find Him.
What's more, your soul is still in communion with God, even when your body seems far away. Once you have found Him, it is impossible to leave Him. Once you have accepted Him, you are unable to completely separate yourself from Him. It is on the dark days when you heart speaks the words your mind cannot create - and your heart speaks directly to the Creator on your behalf, urging patience, kindness, love and openness with Him.
So, when you are having a day when you feel like God is impossible to find, remember that your heart is speaking a language that you don't understand - a language, in fact, that the world does not understand. But, the Lover of your soul understands. And He hears your prayers.
Prayer: Abba, Father, Listen to the words my heart is speaking to You today. They are words I cannot create, yet they are filling a void I did not even know was there. Accept the prayers of my heart. Amen.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us--that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough. ~ Brennan Manning, the Ragamuffin Gospel
The Ragamuffin Gospel changed my life and completely changed how I view God. There is a lot about being a Christian and living a Christian life that I find hard to understand and confusing. There is a lot about following Christ that I never feel like I will be able to do enough of - helping the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked. There are so many ways in which I fail at living up to the expectation I have for myself when it comes to my faith. And, in the midst of all of that, I read The Ragamuffin Gospel and felt peace.
There are a lot of commands, a lot of things that are good for Christians to do and a lot of ways we are called to be set apart, different, and unique. The foundation of that 'being different' is prayer - reaching out to an unseen hand and asking for His guidance in all we say and do.
It's easy to get caught up in the do's and don'ts of religion - it's easy to dwell on the ways we fail, the ways we fall short, and the ways we do not make a difference. When the essence of our call as a Christian is boiled down to the above quote - be a people of prayer - live close to God - God is everything - God is enough - those are things I think I can handle, goals I think I can meet, expectations I think I can exceed.
Choose today to be a person for whom God is enough and God is everything. Choose today to be a people of prayer. Choose today to live close to God. In doing those things, the rest of your Christian walk may become easier to see, even if the 'doing' part still seems almost impossible!
Prayer: Help me today to focus on the reality of what You expect of me - that I am a person of prayer - that I live close to You and that I rest in the fact that You are enough for me. Amen.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.' (Joshua 3:5)
This is one of my favorite scriptures. In just a few words, it says something deep and meaningful to my heart. Consecrate literally means "dedicated to a sacred purpose."
In what ways is your life consecrated? How are you dedicating yourself to a sacred purpose in what you say, what you do, how you react to trials and tribulations? The reality is that your sacred purpose does not change from day to day. Your purpose is to be open to God's will and leading in your life. You are set apart to be exactly the person God created you to be, regardless of how far away from 'sacred' you feel sometimes.
The second part of this verse deals with expectation - the promise that God has something amazing in store for your life. For tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. A promise that He is always at work in your life, never ceasing, never resting.
The challenge today is to believe this! God has already planned something amazing for your tomorrow (and the tomorrow after that). You work on the consecrated part - the being dedicated to a sacred purpose part - and God will work on the amazing things He has in store for those who love Him.
Prayer: Father, help me to be set apart today. Help me to be different, to be challenged, to be, as the verse in Joshua says, dedicated to a sacred purpose. Help me to focus on You and the amazing things You will do in all my tomorrow's. Amen
Thursday, March 6, 2008
In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them. ~William Shakespeare
"If there is one thing that is certain about life, it is that nothing is certain." We've all heard those words and in our hearts know them to be true. Think for a moment about your life - how one minute everything seems to be moving along splendidly, only to come crashing down the next. How health can turn to disease in one doctor's visit - how loved ones can be taken from us in an instant. While we can't be certain of what life is going to throw at us from one day to the next, we can do our best to react with kindness and love.
There are often no words that seem to fit when someone is facing a tragedy in their life. Words of comfort fall on deaf ears when all they can hear is the pain, loss and frustration that has befallen them. Instead of using just words to comfort the broken and hurting, consider Shakespeare's words and "some kindness do them."
Do you know someone who has recently lost someone they love? Instead of just bringing food (which is still a good thing, don't get me wrong), take a moment to discover a need that needs to be filled - whether it's lining up someone to mow the lawn or shovel the snow, or someone to just take the car and get it washed. Do some kindness to them.
Is someone you love just having a horrible day, week, or year? Find a way to do some kindness to them - and in doing so, you will reveal the love and compassion of God Himself! Don't be afraid to ask what you can do, what need you can meet, how your kindness can be best manifested in their life.
Prayer: Father, help me to be kind today. Help me to reach out with kindness to a world that can be cruel and unfair so much of the time. Put people in my path that need to experience some kindness, with no strings attached. Amen.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
This day I call heaven and 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. (Deut. 3:19-20)
Ipods. Personal televisions. Blackberry's. 24/7 access. Cable. DVR.
If your life is anything like mine, my guess is that it is pretty full of noise. I have a hard time just sitting in silence. I used to enjoy the quiet, but now I find I can barely sit at a desk without a podcast playing or music on. Why do I fill my life with so much noise? What am I drowning out? I avoid silence, but then wonder why I don't seem to hear God's voice.
You're hearing a lot. I know you are. I am, too. You're hearing, but are you listening to the voice on the breeze, the voice in the silence, the voice in the static?
His voice spoke the world into existence. His voice spoke your life into His world. His voice spoke redemption on a hill in Jerusalem. And, more than that, His voice still speaks today. He calls out through creation, through your family, through your enemies...He calls out in any way he can to get your attention.
So, listen carefully to the sounds around you - you will hear Him in children laughing, in people embracing, in the everyday small things you do that make a difference for eternity. In the space between the noises of your life, listen for the something more that God is saying to you. Turn off the music a little more each day. Check out of the noise and into the silence, and find the voice of the One who will continue speaking to you forever.
Prayer: Father God, give me the strength to find you in the silence. Open my ears and my heart to your voice today. Help me to hear your plan for my life, and rejoice as you sing your blessings over my life.