Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on the Past, Anticipating the Future

December 31st- A representation of endings and new beginnings. In all reality, it’s just another day on the calendar. Nothing magical happens; Fairy Godmothers don’t miraculously appear and no one turns into a pumpkin at midnight. We all know this, yet there remains something special about the New Year. It’s an opportunity to reflect on past decisions and circumstances. Likewise it’s an occasion for making changes and new choices. It’s almost like a second chance at life.

Praise the Lord we have a God that is all about second chances. Not only that, He is all about third, and fourth, and fifth, and tenth, and hundredth, and thousandth chances! Whew! If that’s not enough, our God, full of wonder and surprise, is never surprised or shocked by us, our actions, or our circumstances. Sure, we surprise ourselves. We disappoint ourselves. We let ourselves down. But our God- He’s never shocked. He already saw our substance, being yet unformed. And in His book they all were written, the days fashioned for us, when as yet there were none of them (Ps 139:16).

As we reflect on the past, becoming overwhelmed with dread and regret, our God confidently rejoices in where we’ve been, who we are, and who we’re becoming. He takes our failures and hurts, and works them out for the good because we are called according to His perfect purpose. He foreknew you! He predestined you! He called you to be conformed to the image of His Son! And not only that, whom He called, He also justified, and whom He justified, He also glorified (Rm 8:28-30)! This is NOT future tense! Foreknew, predestined, called, justified, glorified… PAST TENSE! You already ARE. Period.

Still disappointed in your past? Still ashamed of your history? God’s not. As a matter of fact, He sees your past and
anticipates the future because He knows the thoughts He thinks toward you, and those thoughts are of peace and not of evil, thoughts to give you a future and a hope (Jer29:11). How precious are those thoughts toward you. How great is the sum of them! If you should count them, they would be more in number than the sand (Ps139:17-18)!

So as we enter into a New Year and anticipate a new beginning, let us not disregard the good, the bad, and the ugly of our past, because this is forming us into the image of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.
But you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name
of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.  
-1 Cor 6:11
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Friday, December 30, 2011

In With the New

The coming of a new year brings thrilling anticipation. There is something special and unique about the new versus the old. I don’t know about you, but I get pretty excited about all things new, from the small insignificant new pair of shoes, new favorite song, new recipe, or new wall paper on my cell phone to the grandest new things like a new car, new job, new baby, or new house. What can I say? I love new stuff!

Unfortunately, newness lasts only a short moment and quickly wears off. After purchasing our home only 2 ½ years ago, it no longer feels new. I catch myself growing frustrated with my tiny kitchen and coveting a larger, nicer, newer house. Especially when packing fourteen people in for Christmas dinner! Likewise, my new pair of jeans, new hair color, and new cell phone stays new for such a fleeting moment.

In part, this desire to always have something new results from a lack of contentment; something I struggle with daily. On the other hand, yearning for that which we do not have is a craving given us by our Creator. We know that we were made for more. We long for that which we do not see (Heb 11:1). And yet, we attempt to fill that longing with a multitude of things we do see, hence all the new things I so desire.  Again and again, these grand, new, exciting things neglect to fulfill that yearning within.

Our faithful God offers a newness of life that will not disappoint (Rom 6:4). He makes us a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). He makes all things new (Rev 21:5). He grants new, unfailing compassion every morning (Lam 3:22-23). He gives us a new commandment of love (Jn13:34-35). He promises a new heaven, a new earth (2 Pt 3:13), and a new name (Rev 2:17) to those spending eternity with Him.

As we move into the New Year, let us set our hearts on the new life He has given us. Let us cast aside the old man which grows corrupts and be renewed by putting on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:22-24). I thank God for new beginnings and new hopes that come with a New Year.

Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. -Isaiah 43:19

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mexican Christmas- From Our Home to Yours

Feel like I’ve been off the blogging radar far too long and I miss you guys! J I hope you all had a great CHRISTmas and are ready to begin a fabulous new year! Today’s post is dedicated to sharing our family Christmas fun with you, and I hope you enjoy as we did.

I spent Christmas Eve morning wrapping gifts for my children. This year I tried brown packaging paper (only $1 a roll at the Dollar Tree!) and some fun wire ribbon.
I also attempted an idea I found on Pinterest -using wrapping paper to create matching bows- and it worked! I think they all turned out very Christmassy.

Christmas Eve night we opened our yearly Christmas Eve jammies, sent the kiddos to bed, and carefully placed all the gifts under the tree, along with a basket full of Chocolates!

Finally the Big Day arrived! We did our traditional reading of the Christmas story, only this year we included a new tradition: adding baby Jesus to the manger scene as we read about His birth.

The kids opened their gifts (I’m pretty sure they didn’t even notice the festive brown paper packages) and enjoyed some chocolate. 

They gave James a crafty homemade present which he rather enjoyed. (Another moment of Pinterest Brilliance!)

Afterwards we headed to our church service where I was overwhelmed with God’s love for us. Christmas morning spent in church makes the birth of the Savior so much more glorious! I was also unexpectedly blessed to see one of my faithful blog readers there! She hugged me, telling me I inspired her to attend! You know who you are! And I praise God for you!

After service we rushed home to begin the festive cooking. Every year we visit a different country for Christmas by preparing dishes specific to that part of the world. Two years ago we went to Italy, last year we tasted China, and this year we experienced Mexico.

Finally everyone arrived: grandparents, aunts, auncles, cousins, 14 in all! Let me tell you, the food was amazing! We ate Carne Asada, Enchaladas, Taco salad, Mexican Casserole, beans & rice (of course), Cinnamon Sugar Chips covered in cool whip and chocolate, Cream Cheese Sopapillas (again, thank you Pinterest! These were amazing!), and one of the favorite dishes- stuffed red peppers!

What’s a trip to Mexico without a piƱata? Each kiddo took a few whacks and finally dug into the candy.

We finished the night off with plenty of desserts and a few games of Catch Phrase and Hedbanz.

Well, that’s the gist of our celebration. What traditions do you keep every year? Did you incorporate any new ones this season?  Please share with us!
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas, Friends!

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who is called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:26-38)

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, and angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.  (Luke 2:1-20)

As the heavenly host praised God and celebrated the birth of the Savior, let us praise God and celebrate Him today. As the shepherds sought out the Savior, praising God for revealing such a gift to them, let us likewise seek out our Savior and praise God for such a miraculous gift of Love. As Mary pondered these things in her heart, let us ponder the wonder of Christ in our hearts.

Merry CHRISTmas, friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Power of Relationship Part II

If you haven’t read The Power of Relationship Part I, go there now.

Yesterday I compared the electricity running through a city’s electrical lines to the power we find in relationships. Today I want to talk just a little more about these relationships and a thing called discipleship.

When we think of disciples, our minds automatically envision the twelve close followers of Jesus: Peter, Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Lebbaeus (also known as Thaddaeus), Simon, and last (and certainly least), Judas Iscariot. This word disciple appears 268 times in 252 verses in the King James Bible and is defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as a learner or pupil. If we were to look at all 268 uses of this word however, we would see that Jesus had far more than twelve disciples. Luke 19:37 reveals a multitude of disciples rejoicing and praising God, and Acts 9:36 tells us Jesus’ disciples were not just men, but women, in this case Tabitha. Finally, in Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands His disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Conclusion- Jesus had many disciples and we are commanded to make more.

The fellowship I attend focuses heavily on discipleship locally and globally. One of our elders shared his passion regarding discipleship using the idea of a checker board and grains of rice. He explained that each square on the board represents one year and each grain of rice represents one individual. This individual
takes two other individuals, spends time fellowshipping together, praying together, teaching about developing a quiet time, and about sharing the faith. This process is called discipling. After about a year, each of these two individuals go and do likewise with two other individuals. If this process were to continue until all 64 squares were covered, you would have enough grains of rice to cover the entire state of Oregon 13 feet deep! In fact, he goes on to explain that by the 33rd year (or square) you would exceed the number of people on the earth!

Do you see how much power there is in relationship? Do you see how effective discipleship is? Jesus left us with a command that is not only vital to the church but completely doable. If each of us takes the time to share our faith, our testimony, our time with two others, we have the potential to reach the world for Christ in less than 33 years! We have the ability to make a difference in our town, our state, our country, the world, and most importantly, the Kingdom of God. I would love to hear how you are discipling others and what your fellowship does to encourage  discipleship. Please share your vision with us. And if you need prayer in this area, as I certainly do, leave a comment and I will pray for you.

“Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, a foal of a
donkey.’” So the disciples went and did as
Jesus commanded them.
-Matthew 21:5-6
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Power of Relationship Part I

Have you ever wondered just how much power runs through these lines? Sometimes when running, my brain begins dwelling on things that wouldn’t normally receive a second thought. After all, as long as I can turn on lights, blow-dry my hair, watch Food Network, and run the microwave, I’m good to go. Lately however, these darn little lines have been on my mind. And not just when I run anymore, but as I’m driving, walking into a store, even when I open my fridge and miraculously have cold food awaiting us. This whole power thing is pretty amazing really! So, back to my original question: have you ever wondered just how much power runs through these lines? Haha, I thought so!

If you do a little Googling, you will find that neighborhood street lines run about 330V of power through them.  You will also discover that under the right conditions a 9V battery could kill you. The whole death issue pretty much depends on something called amperes, or amps. Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but if a 9V batter has the potential to take human life, what will a 330V power line do? Well, power a city, that’s what! And this leads me to my rabbit trail because, when I consider these power lines, my brain somehow concludes that they work a lot like people. And not only people, but relationships.

God is all about relationship. He desires that we have a relationship with Him and with each other.  And these relationships must be person, to person, to person.
Relationships don’t happen on Sunday morning, in the Mega Church, or even meeting for a bible study once a week. Relationships are intimate, raw, and real. They are daily. Another word for these relationships is DISCIPLESHIP. When I think of Jesus’ relationship with His disciples, I imagine them walking for hours together, eating three meals a day together, praying daily together, healing people together, preaching the word together, even getting into a boat and fishing together. These guys did everything together! Their life was each other.

This is what relationships are. I think this is what God’s heart for His people is. After Jesus was crucified, resurrected, then raised into heaven, the result of these relationships began to manifest and in one day three thousand souls were added to God’s kingdom (Acts 2:41)! Talk about power! My mind envisions 330 volts charging through the electrical lines above my house, and I begin to get a little freaked out. As I consider the incomprehensible power of the Holy Spirit at work in relationships, I start feeling anxious and overwhelmed. This is some serious power.

Because we rely so heavily on electricity, the city takes great measures to assure nothing obstructs its path. However, disaster does strike, leaving our power poles and lines in a heaped mess. When this happens, thousands can be left with no power resulting in dangerous situations for hospitals, the elderly, and those with no other heat sources. Electricity is vital to our everyday life and sometimes we don’t even realize it until we are without.

Likewise, relationships are vital to our everyday life and we must take great measures to assure nothing comes between us and those we are to be in relationship with. We may need to cut something out of our busy schedule, or set an alarm everyday reminding us to make a phone call. And like the electricity in our homes, sometimes we don’t realize the power of a relationship until we are without. This is where I find myself today, and I am convicted that I need to take action and make changes in my relationships. However, I know relationships take work, and time, and sometimes they are downright inconvenient. Please pray for me, and if you are in a similar struggle, leave a comment so I can pray for you.

Stop by tomorrow for The Power of Relationship Part II.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Greatest of These is LOVE

We are in the midst of the season of giving. We’re surrounded with reminder upon reminder of those in need. These pictures seem to have gone viral on the internet and may be the perfect motivators, pushing us to give, give, give, compelling us to pray for those in need, and to reach out to the unreached.
Oh how great the need is! How my heart aches when faced with such devastation. I think these images affect us so deeply because we cannot deny their validity. Families and children are suffering and we are not. Simple as that. And the question lingers, “But what can I do?”

What do I do with all of this? How can I make a difference? There are numerous ministries in place we can participate in such as Operation Christmas Child. We can help out in our shelters and food banks. Or we can simply support local families in need. And as we reach out to the least of these, we reach out to Jesus Himself (Matt 25:35-40). What a great way to celebrate the Christmas season. Or is it?

There is so much focus this time of year regarding those suffering from poverty and hardships, and as great as this need is, there is a greater need: The need for LOVE. “Giving and serving is love” you say. My response: Yes, Jesus demonstrated the greatest love of all by giving Himself up for us and becoming a Servant. However, He also cautioned us, and this Christmas season, I offer you the same simple caution regarding giving, serving, working hard, and the state of your heart.

“I know your works, you labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And that you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (Rev 2:2-4).

Jesus spoke these words for the church of Ephesus, the same church Paul boasted in regarding their faith and love toward God and the saints (Eph 1:15). This same church that was once dead and God made alive (Eph 2:1). What happened? How did this body of believers go from one extreme to the other? Jesus goes on to tell them “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (Rev 2:5). What are these first works that they fell from? LOVE. These believers fell head over heels in LOVE with their God and Savior. However, they became so caught up with serving and giving that they forgot the greatest Servant and Giver and left their First Love.

Jesus said “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good” (Mk 14:7). I am in no way implying we are to neglect the poor (1 Jn 3:17). Rather, I seek to remind you, as He is reminding me, that without love, all is worthless. This Christmas season, let us not neglect the One we celebrate. Let us not replace Him with serving, giving, working, and doing good. Instead, let us serve, give, work, and do good because our First Love compels us to. After all, what is CHRISTmas without LOVE for the Christ?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but
have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging
cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and
understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and
though I have all faith, so that I could remove
mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed
the poor, and though I give my body to
be burned, but have not love,
it profits me nothing.
-1 Corinthians 13:1-3
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Purposeful Parent or Manic Mama Bear

What’s worse than difficulties and trials in life? Watching our children face them. The moment I become aware of my son or daughter being unjustly accused or unfairly treated, I instantly go from peaceful, purposeful parent to manic mama bear. This may be one of the most difficult times for me. If you have children, young or old, you can surely relate. I have to admit I have not always handled these situations as I should! To see my child’s heart broken in such a way breaks my heart and my response is to do everything in my power to remove my child from this situation and fix it. Yep, I’m a fixer.

As a parent however, I strive to look to my Father, my Perfect Parent, as an example of how to deal with such a situation. I find that He protects me, teaches me, and guides me through life’s toughest moments. However, He does not always remove me from them nor does He immediately fix the problem.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren (Lk 22:31-32). Here we witness Jesus warning Peter (also called Simon) of an impending trial. There are so many lessons for me in this small warning! 1. Satan must ask permission to sift us. 2. Jesus prays for us. 3. He doesn’t pray that we be taken out of the trial, but prays us through it; that our faith would not fail. 4. He trusts that in the end, we will return to Him. 5. His purpose is that through this experience, we will come out of it more able to strengthen others.   

And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed (Acts 16:23, 25, 40). Paul and Silas were wrongly accused and unjustly thrown into prison. How did they respond? Did they complain and grumble? Did God immediately rescue them or fix the problem? No! Their Perfect Father had perfect intentions: that they would use this trial as an opportunity, and that they would encourage the brethren through it.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (Jas 1:2-4).  Here I find a clear purpose in life’s trials and the word that screams to me- let. I must let the trial have its perfect work in me. I must let the trial have its perfect work in my child. Ouch. Rescuing my son or daughter, fixing all of their difficulties and problems, is not letting God work His flawless purpose in their lives. As Jesus prayed for Peter, as He warned him of a coming difficulty, I too can pray for my children and teach them, train them, and warn them that life is hard, but God is good. I pray for the patience and wisdom to walk my children through life’s struggles as my Father does me. I pray that the purposeful parent in me will not be overcome by a manic mama bear.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which
is to try you, as  though some strange thing happened to you;
but rejoice to the extent  that you partake of Christ’s
sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you
may also be glad with exceeding joy.
-1 Peter 4:12-13

Monday, December 19, 2011

From Stressed to Blessed

Alright friends, here we are, December 19th and only six days until the Big Day! Can you believe it!? Every year it seems to descend upon us quicker than the last. Before we know it, time has escaped us and we are left with only days to accomplish the impossible. Get the Christmas cards mailed- will they even make it in time? Oh well, nothing wrong with receiving a card after Christmas… maybe I should send it as a New Year’s card
instead! Oh dear, what about the lights!? Christmas isn’t Christmas without the lights! However will the hubby find hours to spend on the roof before the Big Day?! Panic is setting in! Dinner? Cookies? If we are going to have a real Christmas we must make it a feast. The door bell rings. It’s my all too thoughtful neighbor delivering an amazing assortment of edible gifts. Really? And now I have yet one more necessity to pile upon my mile long list because, well, I will not receive without giving back! Ahhhhhhh! I am overwhelmed to the point of tears. I cannot possibly do it all, Lord! Who do You think I am? Super Woman? I am overwhelmed! Overwhelmed. This word devours me lately.

But God. Let me repeat that- But God. I love when the scriptures include a “But God.” Whenever I read those two words I am immediately relieved with anticipation of God’s Buts. (Please don’t read that the wrong way!) He gave me some Buts today and I can’t help but share with you! As the enemy came against Jehoshaphat and was too much for him to bear, God proclaimed “Do not be afraid or dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chr 20:15). “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever “ (Ps 73:26). And my favorite: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).

When I am dismayed and overwhelmed over the great multitude of things I must conquer, I take heart that this battle is not mine, but God’s. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is my strength! I choose not to be overwhelmed by my list, but rather overwhelmed by the affection of a God that loved me and died for me while I was yet a sinner, despising and hating Him. I am overwhelmed at the miraculous birth that took place over two thousand years ago. I am overwhelmed that this perfect God-Child grew to be the Servant of servants, yet King of kings, all the while seeking, loving, and choosing me. This God, this Love, this Friend of mine, He is overwhelming. And all of a sudden, I am devoured by an overwhelming God rather than an overwhelming list.

And as the Psalmist pleas, so will I: “From the end of the earth I will cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I” (Ps 61:2).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rejection and Healing Grace

Rejected. Disqualified. Undesirable. Unwanted. Lacking. Disappointing. Not good enough. Why, oh why am I here again? And so soon! Why do I continue to find my identity in things and other people? Why do I persist in setting myself up for failure and disappointment? My expectations are all wrong. I hate that I am dealing with this issue again. I am frustrated in myself for allowing it. Yet, here I am.

Truth is, I know God loves me unconditionally, and I think I know wholeheartedly that He has my best interest in mind. He’s not the one I doubt. It’s those around me that I struggle with. When others disappoint me, or when I feel like I have failed them, I KNOW without a doubt that I can rely on my trustworthy God. When I disappoint myself because I fail to meet my own expectations, He remains the same no matter my circumstances. This is what I will take comfort in, the sole thing that will keep me moving, keep me writing, and keep me grounded. I must keep my eyes on Him.

Once again I am soothed and reassured by the only One who really understands me. He reminds me that not only was He rejected, despised, misunderstood, and unwanted, but that He sufficiently fulfills all my needs and understands these struggles in my life because He encountered them Himself. Yet, He was without sin and blameless while I am sinful and full of blame. Even so, even as He sees my heart and my failures, He covers me with His unfailing love, compassion, kindness, and care.  And this is where I will sit. This is what I will let devour me. I will wait here in this place until His perfect love consumes the rejection that eats me up. I will be still and allow His healing power to incinerate those desires and feelings in me that are not of Him. I am reminded of those words to the song and I cry out “empty me Lord, and fill me with You!”

You may not be aware of the fact that as I write, I pray that my words might comfort and encourage you. I pray that my words would be His words and He would speak into your situation and bring healing. What you also may not know is that He does that very thing with me. Just in this short amount of time I have spent here, talking with Him and sharing with you, a measure of grace is being poured out upon me and I am being restored. And I am thankful. I am thankful that He speaks to me, chastens me, gives me words to share, allows me to share with you, and restores and encourages me the whole time. I am unworthy, yes, but He is in the habit of using such as me. And I am humbled.

If you are burdened today, please allow yourself to be filled with the only One who truly fills. Be filled with Jesus and His unconditional, perfect love today.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with
our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are,
yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy
and find grace to help in time of need.
-Hebrews 4:15-16 (NKJV)