Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Monday, April 16, 2012

Counting thanks...

Today I am grateful for:
    # 205- 211
  • family who loves, who shares
  • my uncle who held me tight in his arms yesterday and told me how much he loves me, reminded me of how he threw me in the air as a child and never once let me fall
  • my beautiful aunt who looked into my eyes and told me I looked so pretty
  • the pain in my heart that reminds me that I am alive
  • the fear, yes - even fear, that reminds me to look to my Rock, my Shelter, my Stronghold who is my First Love and Savior
  • friends who surround me and pray for me
  • the rain that cleanses the world 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is alive!

As the women made their way to the tomb that morning, their hands trembling as they held the spices that their traditions called for, knowing the work they must soon do for their beloved Jesus; their eyes swollen and still dripping tears as they could their hearts, their minds be prepared for the miracle that awaited them....

As they peered into the tomb and found....nothing....did their hearts beat a little faster?  Did they feel like they had been drenched in ice water?  How did that shock reverberate through their bodies, their minds? 

"Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, He is risen!  Remember how He told you.....?"  Luke 24:5-6

He is risen!!  Alleluia!  He is risen indeed!!

He has conquered death and the grave.  He did what He said He would do!  As He always has, and as He always will.  

So dry your tears on this Easter morning, breathe in the new, fresh morning air....and behold, your Savior lives!!   Remember how He told you....

Happy Easter!  Jesus, our Lord and Savior, LIVES!  And because of His great love and sacrifice, we have life and peace in Him.  Amen.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Where's the good?

Many ask...what's good about Good Friday?  How would you answer that?

I sat in worship tonight at our church.  A very large wooden cross leaned on it's side in front of the marble altar.  On the altar, 7 candles flickered to the side of the cross.  It was quiet in the sanctuary...solemn.  We listend to the words of prophecy, we sang the songs that reminded us of what our blessed Savior went through 2000 years ago.  As the lights slowly went out in the sanctuary, and as the candles were extinguished with each portion of the story of Jesus' passion as told by John, I felt my sins pressing down on me, crushing me with their weight, holding me captive by their chains.  And I thought about the pain of flogging, and thorns, and harsh words, and nails...I thought of the anguish and torment...I thought of how Jesus took all that on...for me, for you, for all those before us and all those after us.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
      Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
            Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
                   Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble...
             Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

All those thousands of years ago...did Jesus hear my voice, mingled in with the others shouting "Crucify, crucify him!"  Did Jesus feel the weight of my hand on the hammer as the nails pierced his hands...his feet?

And yet, what was that He said?     "Father, forgive them...."  Bleeding, suffering, dying...Jesus, the healer, the king, the Savior of the world...looked out at the sin-filled world from the cross...and with compassion for those who caused his pain, asked his Father to forgive.

And tonight, as the deep sound mimicking the sound of the stone closing the tomb echoed through the silent, darkened sanctuary, and as tears flowed down my cheeks...I knew the good deep in my being.  The good of God's plan, the good of God's love, the good of God's compassion and mercy and grace...all right there on the cross and in the tomb.  Jesus.  The Light of the world come to lead us to the Father.  The Good Shepherd.  The healer.  The Lamb...laying down His life in the ultimate sacrifice that those who believe might be given eternal life.

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Little Catching Up...

I've had a lot on my mind in the last few weeks....and I am behind in letting go of the lies...or maybe not really behind so much as needing to spend some time on a couple of them.  It's hard to say certain things about yourself, isn't it?  Without thinking that someone will think you are vain or that you think too highly of yourself?

Once when I was a child, someone told me that I looked pretty.  My response?  "I know!," with a grin on my face.  Now a four-year-old has little concept of vanity...but my lesson that day was that it was NOT ok to agree with that statement, but instead to say "Thank you" and leave it at that.  I have since felt uncomfortable if someone tells me I am pretty.  I deny any beauty someone comments on in reference to me.  I might look in the mirror and initially think "Hey, I look pretty good today,"  and then immediately chide myself for thinking such a thing.

I remember watching the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants as a young girl...imagining myself walking across the stage in a beautiful dress, wearing a crown....or Disney movies about a princess, beautiful and beloved by her knight in shining armor or Prince Charming....wanting to be that beautiful winner or princess.

I remember so many times as a teenager and young adult being out with a beautiful friend...watching how the eyes of the boys we met would pass over me and focus in on my friend instead.  And I began to believe that I was not beautiful, but was instead invisible.  Many quiet Friday nights home alone while my friends were out attested to that, as well.

And the father of lies would whisper in my ear....and I would believe him.  It's only in the last few months that I have started to chip away at that lie.  To know in my heart that whether anyone else thinks I am beautiful or even whether I do, is not as important as what my King and Heavenly Father thinks.  He made me.  And it's not what I look like physically...but that light of Jesus, the blood of Jesus that washes me clean...that makes me beautiful.  When God looks at me, He doesn't see the ugly mess of humanity and sin...instead, He sees a reflection of Jesus' beauty.  He sees His own handiwork and creativity...and He says "It is good."

I am not invisible.  I am not ugly.  I am a beautiful Princess of the King of Kings.  Beloved by the King.  And I don't need to be embarrassed by that or self-conscious of it.  As one created by the Creator of the universe, washed clean by the Savior of mankind, I can instead claim it, believe it.  Stand tall, chin up, face forward  - I am a beautiful daughter of the King. 

And you know what?  You are beautiful, too.  My sisters in Christ, we are all inheritors of the kingdom...beautiful, beloved Princesses.  My brothers in Christ, you are heirs of the King of Heaven...a reflection of Christ to the world.  Will you accept that?  Will you look in the mirror and see the beauty He created in you?!  Look at yourself with His eyes and tell me what you see.....listen to His truth and let go of the lies.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

He knows me...

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me."  Psalm139:1

He knows me. From head to toe, from the inside out and the outside in.  HE knows me.  He KNOWS me.  He knows ME!

Do you ever just crave one person to spend time with who knows you?  The whole you.  The real you.  The good, the bad, the ugly...the beautiful, the happy, the sad - all of you?

What would you do?  How would you feel with that person?  Relaxed?  After all, they know everything about you - no reason to hide anything or be embarrassed.  No reason to think about what you say before you say it.  You can laugh with your goofiest laugh and know that he won't tease you.  You can express every emotion and know that she understands perfectly....

Think about your best friend...the person who you most enjoy spending time with...maybe a sister or brother, spouse, cousin, friend....  How do you feel when you are with them?  Happy, energized, creative, relaxed?  Now imagine being totally 100% yourself...don't hold anything back at all....and take a look at their face.  Still feel that way?  Or do you feel just a little bit uneasy because they look just a little bit shocked??

We can be who we are with God.  After all, He created us.  He knows us all the way through - every thought, every feeling, every word on our tongue, every thing we do.  Everything.  He KNOWS.

Now imagine He's sitting there with you right at this moment; your hand in his, your head on His shoulder.  You're talking, He's judgement, no shocked looks...just love radiating grace and forgiveness and....peace.

May He look upon you with favor....and give you peace.

He knows you.  He made you.  He loves you.