It’s personal…

It might be easy to look at the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and be shocked and disappointed about the betrayal by those who had a role in this agonizing and heartbreaking moment as it unfolded.

How could they?

How could God?

Jesus’ disciples, friends, and family had a front row seat. I can’t imagine watching it all. It’s easy to point an incredulous finger and have a look of disgust. But I have to remember that even though this took place before I drew my first breath, God’s plan was laid out…

…for me and my rebellion…

….for you and yours…

It’s personal.

God’s love came down and took our sins on as His own.

God provides all that we cannot: love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and salvation.

The storms…

The storms will come. They might be literal ones like we saw last night ripping through Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana. But there are always those times in life when things happen that rock us to our core; the figurative storms.

They will come. They do come. They are coming. And sometimes they seem to come one after another. I love this quote from a song by Scott Krippayne, Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child.

I don’t know what you have been through, what you are in the middle of, or what is coming down the pike for you. Life is not easy for anyone. But I take courage and hope that God is with me when the storms come. He holds me close, He provides peace, comfort, and, most importantly, rest for our hearts and souls. He is my shelter in the storm. And I pray you find He does that for you, too.

If you have anything specific you would like me to pray for, let me know!

Enjoy the song.

I can’t always be there

As much as I would love to be that person who can rush in and be present for every high and low, I cannot commit to that.

And I cannot expect others to be, either. There are times when we have to go it alone or accept the help from those that are right there at the moment of need. Our situations are no surprise to God. And He often places those people who can love and serve us directly in our space for reasons we cannot understand, except that He is God and He knows what He is doing.

He is always there.

Even when we have to “go it alone”, God is right there. And often leaning into Him is the way to make progress, even if that feels counterintuitive.

God with is – Immanuel. He guides and protects and sustains us. He gives us what we need. His grace is all sufficient. Accept His presence and His gifts.

Prince of Peace

“…But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-22 NLT

There is just so much turmoil in the world these days that it is easy to be disheartened. In each day, I seek a little peace.

I turn off the television.

I take time to sit with no screens or work in front of me.

I take a walk.

I pray.

I listen to music that is calming — either Scripture memory songs or instrumental music.

There are countless other ways to seek peace. I think in the name of peace, people try all kinds of things. Some avenues to peace don’t actually take them to the destination they seek.

What do you do to find some moments of peace during a day?

Music is pretty important to me. I spent many years singing in choirs. One song that I enjoy singing is Dona Nobis Pacem — you can check it out HERE — maybe it is familiar to you. The title of the song means “Grant us peace” and it is very interesting to me that the flowing melody with the repetition of the words can usher me into a state of peace. It’s a simple prayer for peace.

Try it.

There will always be difficult meetings and complex relationships and hard days. But, asking God to grant you His peace, is a wonderful way to break the stress cycle.

May I…

May I wash your feet?

It’s a little personal. And yet, Jesus set out to do just that when He met with His disciples for the Last Supper.

Foot washing is a little risky for both of parties. It’s making ourselves a little vulnerable— both for the one doing the task and for the one receiving it.

I try to get a pedicure once or twice a year, but it’s been a few years. And so, I am not sure if the person doing the job will judge me for not “taking care of business in a timely manner.” I have so many reasons for not being there and they are all reasonable.

I don’t believe a pedicure and a foot washing with an intention to serve are the same thing at all, but they can invoke similar thoughts and emotions.

I appreciate my feet and all they do for me. Sometimes my feet are filthy—and they would have been especially dirty during Jesus’ time with all the sand and sandals and dusty roads. Even so, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. He didn’t expect them to get them in shape before He did the task. He took each foot — dirt, callouses, bunions, and all.

And He takes each of us — sin, selfishness, despair, grief, anger, and all.

Lord Jesus, wash away all the ugliness of my sin. Help me to accept the work You are doing on my behalf. Renew that right spirit within me. Grant me your perfect peace. Amen.

Point of view.

We all have a way we see things. It’s based on our history and experiences and the way we see the world. One important thing to consider is how much of how we see the world has a Godly influence? Are we getting closer to seeing things from God’s point of view?

I definitely ebb and flow a bit here. I can get sucked into the ruts of past ways of thinking— negative first impressions or hard core disappointments on how I (or worse yet, someone I love) was treated. But, remembering that God sees the big picture and He is working things out makes a big difference for me and my point of view.

God is working all things out — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The longer I walk with Him, the easier it is for me to grow my patience and perspective. Slowly, ever so slowly, it is getting closer to His. And that bring me peace.

Let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:5-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Let your requests be made known to God.

I sure have trouble with this! I feel like I have spent a lifetime practicing the present your requests to God part. I still don’t get that right. And with thanksgiving — in every situation? Well, that isn’t always so easy either. I have a long history with God — and still, I get distracted and overwhelmed.

Some things take a while to come to fruition. Some things are never meant to be. But that peace of God is such an amazing gift. The work God does in our hearts as we wait, in prayer, is His work. The guarding of our hearts and minds is His work, but the presenting everything to Him in prayer and supplication is what we need to do.

I am so thankful that God’s peace is in short supply. He wants to give us this beautiful gift! I just need to remember to turn it over to Him before I have any time to be anxious about it.

Let your requests be made known to God.

God loves to hear from His children! What are you laying at His feet today?

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness.

Psalm 51: 13 – 19

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness.

Sin is sin. The earthly consequences often differ, but in the end, we are all guilty.

I believe satan loves to poke and needle the guilty. He wants us to never forget our sins. And his goal seems to be to interrupt or delay the recognition of our sin as sin and distract us from going to our Deliverer.

Have you ever been stuck in the cycle of sin-guilt-shame-hiding-isolation- discouragement-frustration-anger-distance-sin? It might look a little different in your life, but this type of cycle does not produce healing. Somewhere in the cycle needs to be the confession-forgiveness-deliverance!

Don’t let yourself be fooled by satan and his tactics. The world certainly gives us every reason to justify our behavior. We have been through a lot recently and it looks like things aren’t easing up just yet. But God — He longs to restore and renew us. Daily confession brings daily deliverance. What a beautiful way to start a new day!

Take not your Holy Spirit from me

Psalm 51: 7-12

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Another gut wrenching plea. The weight of our sin in unbearable except for Jesus’ work.

But, if I am honest, sometimes the weight of my sin doesn’t impact me to the core as much as someone else’s. How could that be? I think it is my sinful nature coming through along with the whispering lies of satan.

I am confident in God’s love, care, and provision for me. I am very confident. And yet I vacillate between the gravity of my sin and the work done for me. It’s difficult to hold both of those at the same time.

Do you struggle with this, too?

Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

Psalm 51: 7-12

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

It’s been a long few years. And things are getting a little more unsettled with what is happening in Europe. Whether or not we are experiencing the same challenges as our neighbors, it is disheartening to watch things around us.

Internal joy is not dependent on external circumstances. And, of course, the joy of salvation is such a different thing altogether. It’s above and beyond and yet I don’t think I consider it on a daily basis.

The joy of your salvation.

The word restore indicates that the joy has been there. Being separated from God should break us. And that brokenness makes us miserable. And that is evident to those around us.

Joy is contagious! And the joy of salvation? It’s certainly a cause for celebration. And once you know that particular joy, knowing that you have separated yourself from it can rock you to your core.

Lord, let me comprehend the weight of my sin but, in confession to You, bring it all. And allow You to wash it clean, renew my spirit, and restore my joy! Amen.