Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Jesus.

Simply marveling. So complex.  Greater than our understanding, even.    Simply beyond comprehension.

Yet so simple.  

Just Jesus. 

How complicated our faith becomes when we feel we must add to it.  

The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth.  All our work adds nothing to it. Proverbs 10:22

We have no prerequisites.  No requirements.  Nothing to fulfill.  

Just Jesus. 

We pray for blessings.  For abilities.  For opportunities.  He answers,

Just Jesus. 

Laying everything aside.  Forgetting everything behind.  Focusing only on what matters.  

Just Jesus. 

We couldn't ask or need anything more.  

Just Jesus. 

What fills your day, your thoughts, your motive, your desires?
Is it Just Jesus or are you making life more complicated?

Monday, May 16, 2011

In the Grip of His Grace

I am a broken vessel…but a vessel still
His love and grace have saved me
Upon Redemption’s Hill
He heals my deepest sorrows
He calms my darkest fears
He has taken all the pieces
Of my many broken years
And formed a new mosaic
With the beauty of His face
Took sinful scars, redeemed them
And sculpted in their place
A new and perfect vessel
His love made me complete
To carry Living Water
To be His hands and feet
And in the grip of His amazing grace
I confidently surrender
To go where e'er He bidst me go
For His glory and all His splendor.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Somewhere in the Night, tonight...

Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she longs to be held by her mother, wondering how far heaven really is.
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she curls up in the corner of her room, trembling in fear, scared to death he may come back to make her hurt again. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she remembers what it was like before she gave away her innocence in exchange for temporary fulfillment of the loneliness that only seems to multiply with every empty, broken relationship. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she reaches out, desperate for a poison that takes her outside of who she knows she really is and who she wants to be. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she walks along wondering where they will sleep tonight when it gets cold. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as the hunger in her soul cries out even louder than the pains in her starving tummy.
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she longs for the arms of protection absent from her as he fights to protect the freedom of many.
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles while she lay awake rocking the baby she long has buried in the grave.
And the floods pour out in the night...and the cries ring out in the darkness.

Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as her heart is breaking for the night and all its cries of pain and suffering...
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she sees every tear falling into the nail-scarred hands of a Man whose blood was trickled in the darkest night to offer light and hope. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles, wondering how she can show them that heaven truly isn't very far, that Jesus really hears their cries...
We don't have to be scared, we don't have to hurt, we don't have to be lonely, and empty, and cold...
Tonight, and every night, He is there, wiping away our every tear...
Waiting for His little girls to find refuge in His out-stretched open arms.

Taking her by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha Cumi", which is, "Little girl, I say to you, arise."
Mark 5:41 

Oh daughters, hear His cries for you.
He is desperate for your desperate tears...
Desperate to awaken your soul.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hold on a little longer...

All eyes were upon her, waiting, watching...anticipating her falling to pieces in her Daddy's arms as they rolled the casket out of her reach.  We gasped, holding our breath as we tried to hold back the tears...yet, not a drop fell from her eyes. Instead she looked up at her Daddy, not to fall apart, not to receive comfort, but to give a glance of reassurance to make sure he was okay...And a glimmer of hope shined forth from her precious smile as she looked at him. A tower of strength, she reached out for his hand...for his direction...and he held on a little longer, a little tighter to the love that created the princess that reminded him of the Heavenly Peace that quiets his soul.

And I could hold back no longer, for as the tears poured down like rain, I felt a tiny hand slip into mine as another found his place under my wing.  One took my hand to his lips, offered a kiss of comfort and held on tightly while the other snuggled under my arm and clasped my hand in if they knew that I needed to feel them at that moment to know they were near.

Let me hold on a little longer, my sons.  You grow before my eyes and today, you proved to me how quickly you are becoming young men.  Let me hold you until you become too big, and then let me hold you some more...and when I simply can't bear your weight on my lap, hold me.  Then I can hold you a little longer, still.

You see, tomorrow, most of our days will all carry on. We'll go about our routine, taking for granted that somewhere, someone is giving a loved one a final kiss goodbye...taking for granted that that someone could be us.  So, hold on a little longer today...Squeeze your children a little tighter.  Kiss your husband a little sweeter and let them feel your heart beat with theirs.  And know that they know the that when time draws nearer to the end here on this earth, it only begins an eternity of sweetness in the Father's arms.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Will I leave them His promises?

With six little girls encircled around her bedside, she praised Him. When the doctors shared the news of the beast that would soon take her life, she praised Him.  As she walked daily, leading children to be strong, teaching students to have faith, knowing inside she would soon be leaving them, she praised Him. And now, as she sits at His feet, humbly bowing at His throne, prostrate in His grace...not a victim, but a victor, she praises Him.

The sweet angelic voice of her ten year old daughter worshiping her Saviour in the last hours of her life must have echoed in her heart as she breathed her last breath of the air of this world and inhaled the sweetness of her promised inheritance.  She has left this world to begin what she was promised...but what she has left in this world is a legacy of His promises.

Hearts are tender.  Wounds are open.  Tears are falling.

And Christ puts His loving arms around her, smiling as she watches them still wanting to teach.  And together they gently speak:

Hebrews 6:11-12 
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy [or give up], but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (emphasis mine) 

We can rejoice in her broken body made whole.  We can remember the promises she taught us by her life.   We can follow her example and endure to the end, with faith beyond measure.  We can know the Christ for whom she lived and that is now holding her today.

As I ponder what I will leave to my children as I dance through the gates of Glory, I wonder, will I leave them His promises?  Will I leave them sitting by my side singing praises to His name?  Will I leave them pursuing with diligence the faith of their inheritance?  Lord, Jesus, I pray.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Christians, we are called to holiness...

September 11, 2001

My heart sank deep into my chest.  Hatred rocked the world of this country and lives were torn apart by darkness.  But God reigned. He sat on the throne, He held the tears, He gave comfort, He offered grace.  He felt the pain of the loss of lives, not only in the disaster of buildings crashing, but in the loss of souls to an enemy far greater than any human leader of terror.  He wasn't rejoicing then...and He isn't rejoicing today.

I have lost loved ones in the "War on Terror"...I have cried weeping sobs in the depths of my soul as my heart was broken to pieces over the need for men and women to die for my freedom.  I have held pictures of a fallen soldier wrapped tightly in my arms as I begged God for His mercy on this world. I pray continuously for family members and friends fighting overseas in this gut-wrenching war. Yet, today, I hurt no less for that dear friend or any that were lost in 9/11 or the families who suffer daily missing their loved ones daily on my behalf. My heart still aches for all of them and I support wholeheartedly the mission to defend our nation.  We have praise to offer that God has delivered our enemy into our hands...But, I cannot support the mockery and boasting that has gone on today.

"LOL, He burns in Hell, He got what He deserved, Justice has been served."?  Christians, listen to yourselves.  I cannot fathom those words enthusiastically coming off of the lips of someone that has accepted the suffering death of Jesus as He paid for us ALL.  If justice had been served, we would ALL die and go to hell.  Instead of thanking God today for a man getting what he deserved, I am thanking God that I don't have to...humbly remembering that Jesus took my was He that got what we all deserved.

As I see photos of Bin Laden's body, beaten, broken, lying dead posted all over the internet with banners flying high rejoicing in laughter, my heart again sinks deep into my chest.  Hatred and revenge has again prevailed.  And though an enemy of our country in the flesh has died, the real enemy has gained a victory once again. Another lost soul is won to the pits of hell...and my God isn't rejoicing over that. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is hearing the cheers of Americans and reliving the crowd as they roared enthusiastically for His crucifixion...just as He did when He heard the chants of joy from Bin Laden's people on 9/11. And I believe that Christ is holding the wounds on His hands and feet with grave tears remembering His blood poured out on Redemption's Hill for yet another man who died before accepting His grace. Yes, Osama Bin Laden rejected Christ, but so do we when we celebrate with Satan a soul lost to hell.  

God bless our soldiers, who follow in Christ's footsteps and lay down their lives for the freedom of others.  May the stars and stripes wave strong and true... But, God be with us when we reject the example of His life in fulfillment of our own revenge and find peace and comfort in celebrating bloodshed. 

The true victory in death is the death of our Saviour on Calvary's cross...May it not be in vain.  Our battle is not with the flesh...perhaps we need to get our focus back on the war we are really fighting here.  It isn't over.  Thank God this man can no longer steal the innocent lives of others...Our God will serve justice, yes...but He does not rejoice in sending any soul to hell...He doesn't laugh at the sight of a man bleeding and beaten...and He doesn't chant and cheer because His wrath had to be matter what the weight of the man's sin. 

God have mercy on us.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

If only she knew...

Copied with permission from Carol Lee Photography

Little girls look at her with eyes wide hoping one day for the fairy-tale life that she hides behind.  The elegance and beauty that radiate in her smile slowly fade as she waves goodbye to the whisper of innocence she once held as a child.  She walks, confidently trembling, as she peers into the mirror wondering if they'll ever really notice HER...her soul, her heart, her passions, her secrets...not just the beauty queen essence that the world has affixed to her perfect design.

And she a vulnerable, desperate-for-attention, moment...she compromises: herself, her future, her faith...eager to be held with adoration, believing the lie that boundaries don't exist in "love".  She becomes the lead role in one of the many princess stories that she has engraved on her heart over the years...filled with passion and a hunger to be swept away by the wind of a dream dancing on the prism light of a rainbow's bend. In his arms, in that moment, she finds her heart beating with his...and in a moment, her white dress is torn.

Lies entrap her spirit.  Shame steals her beauty.  Sin conquers the seal of her covenant.

Yet, for her audience, she smiles...she waves...she dances the dance of grace and truth...knowing all the while the encore of what digs her deeper into the pit, knowing she has given away freely something that she can never ever get back.

Lord, why are Your daughters so willing to be held captive by a temporary fill for the void that You created in us for You?  Only You, Lord. Only You.  My heart is broken for You, as You look upon us reaching out Your eternal arms and we turn, only to fall into the arms of a temporary man.  We seek the attention of lustful eyes, desperate to be noticed...and You look into our hearts, crying for us to realize that we are the very apple, the most tender heart of Your eye, and that You notice every breath we take.  

As the little girls look on, wide-eyed, dreaming to be a fairy-tale princess, we cannot hide any longer.  The elegance and beauty that shines is His alone and in grace and truth we can dance, freely forgiven.  But, we must come from behind the mirror and notice them looking for something to fill their void, their emptiness...and we must lead them to fill it with a passion for Him, not a passionate sin.

As we look in the mirror ourselves, what do we see?  Are we teaching our little girls to expose their innocence for momentary glimpses of desire from another?  Are we dressing ourselves with a passion for Him or a passionate sin?

For the love of a prince we all have dreamed, 
but pre-awakened love is not what it seems
My sweet, sweet princess, His time is set,
Don't live with scars of past regret.
Before you give him your innocence, give him your hand.
Romance is sweet in the Master's plan...

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