Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Light


I pile the children into the car to escape for a moment.  Pajama clad little ones find cozy seats and settle in for the journey - we are searching for Christmas lights!  We ooh and aah over bowing white reindeer and smiling, glowing snowmen.  Faces press against glass to see the manger scene, Mary and Joseph hovering over a sleeping Jesus.  Carols of Christmas joy playing on the radio.  Then we bustle home to holiday bedtime stories and red blankets and penguin pillows.  Rest and peace. . .

That's when I slow. . .and ponder. . .and read again the story of light coming down to this dark, lost world.  With candles and Christmas tree aglow in the quiet I can see. . . light really does overcome the darkness. 

I read a story once about a man who opened his dark closet to get a board game out for his children to play.  As he opened the closet door, light from the hallway immediately flooded into the closet so he could see the games, to choose one.  The thought of the light filling the dark space suddenly struck him.  He closed the door and opened it again and each time the light filled the darkness.  He called his children to come and see,  they were not as impressed and eager to play the game, but that simple thought of light being greater than the dark stayed with him.  He said that darkness did not spill into the bright hallway, making the hallway darker, but light took over the blackness.  At first I thought this story was silly and simple, but the more I considered it the more meaningful it became.

God's first act of creation was light.  A light that was greater than emptiness.  A light that was greater than the deep void of nothingness.  A light that would be the foundation of creation.  A light separated from the darkness.  A light foreshadowing the light of the world.  A light whispering of salvation. . .

Manger wrapped and starlight soaked, Elohim sends His perfect light to pierce the darkness.  Yahweh Himself gives the purest, most hallowed gift of all, His very Son, His very self, His very heart. . . The first gift of Christmas was light Himself.

                "In him was life, and that life was the light of men."  John 1:4

Light sent to the dark streets of Bethlehem.  Light sent to the dark places of our hearts.  Light sent to overcome the darkness, the blackness, the sin, the sorrow. 

              "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it...
              He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the
              world did not recognize him."   John 1:5,10

Salvation sent, in baby soft skin and feathery hair and newborn cry, but we do not understand.  How can such tiny fingers change a world?  How can toothless mouth speak words of God. . . be the Word?  The darkness of sin clouds the eyes and the heart.  Our comfortable blindness darkens the mind, so we cannot understand that this baby is God reaching down to man.  This baby holds the salvation of humanity.  This baby is  God with us!

               "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We
               have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from
               the Father, full of grace and truth."      John 1:14

So maybe this is why we go in search of Christmas lights this year.  Maybe this is why we spread glowing bulbs on fragrant pines and light flames in scented wax.  Maybe we are all searching. . . hoping to find the light.  Maybe we are all on this journey to see Him and know Him more through the gift of His perfect Son, the light of the world.  Maybe the darkness of sin and blindness of this world cause us to want to see. . .see the truth, the hope, the miracle of God with us. 

May His light shine in our hearts this Christ coming!

Friday, August 17, 2012

"And (they) said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen.  But do not have God speak to us or we will die."    Exodus 20 :19 NIV

"We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only.   We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us.  Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us?  Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him."       -Oswald Chambers

Oh, how guilty I am of this very thing!  Reading devotions online, browsing blogs, or scrolling screens - turning the pages of a book someone else has written about God, when He is longing to write His story on the pages of my life. 

I go searching for some deep meaning or answers to the questions I carry and the burdens I bear, when the ultimate answer guide has already been written thousands of years ago.  He is the answer because He is the way. . . He is the truth.

ALL I need is God!

He is fullness!

The work of His salvation and the revealing of His nature and will is already made complete.  He has revealed Himself to us in His Word and by His Spirit.  But I will never hear Him speaking if my mind is clouded with everyone else's experience with Him.  I must take the time to spend in His Word, in prayer, and in being still listening to what He has to say to me, for my life.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Mission

These words struck me today as I was reading Sally Clarkson's book "The Mission of Motherhood." I hope you find her words as inspiring as I did. . .

"Over and over again in the Gospels, we read that the disciples were "with" Jesus. Our Lord developed the hearts of his followers by spending time with them - instructing them, advising them, modeling right behavior. He spoke with them one-on-one and in small groups. He included them in his ministry and in his daily life. But what he almost never did with his disciples was to sign them up for activities and programs.

We are on the go for God. We are busy doing many activities and going to this meeting and that seminar. Yet all of the going in the world will not make us or our children spiritually deep or alive. It is only by coming to the living God and developing intimacy with him that we will really draw near in our hearts to Christ.

Jesus didn't meet with his disciplies once a week for Bible study and then say, "I'll see you next week!" He gave his disciples his whole life. He lived with them, slept with them, traveled with them, and lived out a life of godly maturity before their eyes. Having the personality of the God who created the universe living with them every moment for three years gave them an understanding of his ways that nothing else could do. They observed him in the private times of friendship and eating and sharing and being exhausted and buying and preparing food as well as in public ministry - teaching, healing, worshiping, confronting, encouraging. There was perfect integrity between the words he spoke and the life he lived. Thus his disciplies could learn what righteousness looked like in all situations."
(taken from The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson)

What implications this has for us as mothers! We have the beautiful opportunity every day to live out the Gospel and be the hands and feet of Christ. He was the perfect example of how we should interact with our children. He carefully and purposefully guided them in truth. He shared and illuminated the ways of God in such a way that they could understand and grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy One. We are to do the same.

These little ones come to us ready to be molded and taught. They learn not only by the words we say, but the way we live our very lives. How we respond in traffic, the tone of voice we use at the end of the grocery shopping trip, the joy or sorrow we display, it is all seen and heard by little souls who will reflect this behavior.

I pray that in my teaching, in my exhaustion, in my worship, in every waking hour my children will be able to see a small reflection of the righteousness of Christ.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I pray for His blessings and pray for His peace
Ask for the littles to have peaceful sleep.
Call out His name when I'm tired or down
Forgetting the cost of the thorn and the crown.
Foolish and focused on all that I need
Missing the forest because of the trees.

I have it all backwards or so it would seem
When begging for blessing comes so easily.
The giving should be TO the Father above
Who once gave His Son, and His life, and His love.

So, may I bless Him with my words and my deeds
Helping, forgiving, and loving so free.
He gave it all, so that I might have life
Now may I live fully for only my Christ.

(my small song for Him tonight, I love you Jesus!)  :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I am made a mother in late November.  No slight thing that this girl. . . made wife. . . made mommy happens two days before Thanksgiving.  What an amazing gift to be thankful for!  The gift of motherhood! 

I am so thankful that 'God only wise' allowed me this unspeakable joy of mothering.  It is almost a shadow of a glimpse of the ever encompassing love He has for us.   To have and to hold made flesh simply. . . to have more and to hold more.

I know love deeper because I am a mother.

I know compassion more fully because He has placed these little ones in my care.

I know joy wider because of their sparkle filled eyes.

I know peace stronger because they have rested in my arms.

I know life sweeter because of the sweetness of their embrace.

I know the Father stronger because of this gift of mother journey.

Thank you Lord for making me a mother.  For trusting me enough to guide these tender ones to You.  For showering grace after grace on us.  I love You!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

God Comes in the Quiet

Our God comes in the quiet things.

Even now the heavens are declaring His glory, but not a word is spoken.

Trees praise with uplifted arms.

Light burns with joy, turning sunset bright.

He whispers His love on white butterfly wings. 

As blossoms fall from budding trees, we see His goodness.

The fullness of the earth is His and cannot help but shout silent His wonderful works!

If only I would stop and see the words He's written on the world. 

To be still. . . quiet. . . and hear Him speak.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quiet Thanks

Lying quiet on lavender dusted field.

The breath of clouds drift soft against sky blue.

Child laughter dances across the breeze.

Bare toes run on spring grass to deliver yellow lioned flowers.

Butterfly white skipping on wind's joy.

For this I am grateful. . .

the beauty of spring

the quietness of His presence

the unexpected refreshing

handfuls of dandelion love

laughter shared with women of faith

"Come here, I want to kiss you," from my little guy

chasing bubbles in the wind

new mercy

being close to Him

knowing Him more day by day

# 230-239

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Satisfactory Apathy

The mail piles up on kitchen counter.  Sales papers, credit card offers, utility bills, and the starving cry for my attention.  I browse the sales, tear up the offers, file the bill to be paid, and pause.  This is my choice.  Here, delivered right to my mailbox is a way, a way I've been seeking to help the needy, serve the poor and homeless, sick and orphaned.  But how many times have I seen the bloated tummies. . . and thrown them in the trash.

Our nation oozes affluence.  Even in our humble home, living on a budget with five people who need to eat and a light bill that needs paying and clothes that need to be bought, we live in the top 20% of the wealthy of the world.  The other 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day, and a majority of that group lives on less than $1 a day.

The saddest part of this story is that most people will read those statistics and think, "Wow, that's hard to believe," and promptly change the channel on the television and stuff another handful of potato chips in their mouths.  This seems harsh, but the reality is that most of us know there is desperate need in this world, but most of us do absolutely nothing about it.

Even now I can see the rolling eyes and groans of people who have become so apathetic you can see their hearts harden before your very eyes.  I am ashamed to say, that for awhile that was me.  The envelopes fill the mailbox, and if you give once they all come asking again and again, until it feels like all you give is going to pay for the postage of all this mail you receive.  But when it comes down to it, the question is, am I willing?

Am I willing to make the right choice.  To choose seven meals for the starving or one for my family to eat dinner out.  Am I willing to choose sacrifice over self?  Am I willing to love others more than I love stuff?  Am I willing. . .

This begs the question, what if I had been born in sub-Saharan Africa, what if my mother had just died of AIDS, what if there was nothing at all to eat. . . or drink. . . or wear?  What if all I knew was desperation and starvation and loneliness?  I would want someone to care.  I wouldn't want my picture thrown in the trash.  Choose today.  Boldly care, boldly give in faith, and there will be no regrets.

"It's very apparent that you are to love the Lord with all your heart and then you're to love your neighbor as yourself.  And myself doesn't want to be starving, and so I don't want other people in the world to be starving.  Jesus does not ask that we care for the less fortunate, He demands it."   -Katie Davis


Thursday, February 16, 2012

To Love

He whispers love after only a month . . .
He says he already knows I'm the one.  Says it quiet, as if the secret slips out it might not come true.
He writes it in the Bible he gives me for Valentine's Day that first year.
He breathes it in the cold night air as he walks me to my dorm room to say good night.
He shows me with surprise flowers and chocolates left on my car window - joy discovery!

He never stops.

He is always there, pursuing, giving, loving. . .
Even when scared girl puts the wedding off a year.
Even when she seeks shelter under parents' wing.
Even when she hurts and cuts him deeper than she knows.
He is there.

Always steady.  Always strong.
Always ready to give.  Always ready to love.

The years crease lines beside our eyes, happy lines, marking the smiles of life's joy.
Through wedding bliss and babies born, through the building and rebuilding years of marriage walls.
This walk beside him has made me who I am.
I could not imagine life without his steadfast love.
I am grateful for never failing, always enduring, ever bearing and believing love.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Least

He uses the small ones.  The ones who hide in the background.  The ones who are sweeping the floor and tending the sheep.  The young ones, the poor, the least.

That's how He called His chosen ones' first king.  From the smallest tribe, from the least family in the tribe.  How a lonely walk searching for lost donkeys can lead to prophet prayers.

And then the quiet shepherd boy, forgotten in the fields, youngest of 8 brothers, called in to receive the anointing oil of kingship.

And sweet Mary, poor girl from a small town, humble of heart, yet honored above all women to be the mother of the Messiah.

He uses the ones who least expect it.  The ones attending to their daily chores, completing their mundane tasks, faithfully working in small ways. . . faithfully serving.

After all, didn't He teach us this way.  This way of serving others, caring for forgotten flock, simply obeying parents, daily working.  This way of doing the jobs no one else cares to do. . . feeding the hungry, comforting the wounded, washing the feet.

Savior example shows love in the little, daily tasks of loving.  Washing dirty, chubby fingers of little ones, preparing meals, reading quiet, bending down to serve, to love.

 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."                                            Galatians 6:9

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spirit Fire

       "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
         and filled the whole house . . . they saw what seemed to be tongues of
         fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were
         filled with the Holy Spirit."                      -Acts 2:3-4

He tells them just before He ascends the sky. . ."wait for the gift."  (Acts1:4 NIV)

"My Father has promised. . .in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

The gift.  The Promise.  The Spirit.

He filled the room with His mighty rush of wind.  As disciples gasp and breathe in the breath of God.  These fish followers made God followers hear the Spirit move around and through and within.  Then they see holy fire descend . . . upon them.

Tongues of fire!  Brilliant orange, yellow, white ever moving glow of fire.
The fire of God's presence coming down to rest on the believer.
The fire of His perfect purity. . . refining, surging, dwelling here and now.

"Our God is a consuming fire. . ."   Hebrews 12:29
Never contained, fear and awe provoking, yet choosing to be God with us, God in us.  The fire of His presence resting on the heart of man.  Holy made holdable.  But resting for a moment and only to be used to spread the Word.  To share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  To tell the world what our God has done - He has come, He took on flesh, He lived and loved and taught and healed and died to reconcile sinners to Himself, He rose, He lives, and He wants all to know.

Flaming tongues tell the story. 

Muslim, Jew, Egyptian, Chinese, Arab ears hear and turn amazed.  Thousands listen to the fiery Peter.  The flaming message touches hearts and hundreds choose to follow.

So what happend along the years?  Have we forgotten the amazing power of God?  Do we not realize or believe that the Spirit of the living God can live inside of us?  Or have we become deadened by idolatry of self and culture to even feel His presence?

May the fire of His Spirit burn inside our hearts to tell the world His story . . . our salvation.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spirit Wind

      "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
       and filled the whole house . . . they saw what seemed to be tongues of
       fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were
       filled with the Holy Spirit."                                    -Acts 2:3-4

Wind. . .
Fire. . .
The filling. . .

Isn't it amazing how God reveals Himself to us. . . how He shows us His character and nature?
How indescribable the wind?  A torrent of the rushing breath of God. . .
Swirling, filling, stirring, touching. . .
Ever moving in itself and ever moving souls toward Him. . .
Reminiscent of Adam's first life breath, or the Red Sea water walls made only by the wind, or Elijah's mountaintop with God.

He was there - the Spirit - the Holy Spirit of God. . . from the beginning when "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."  (Gen. 1:2)

As flood waters fall back by a mighty wind, as the Spirit fills the hearts of kings, and words of prophets.  The Spirit has always been.  Watching, working, moving.

But now comes His time, His work, His mighty indwelling - Pentecost.

When God gives the ultimate gift, the gift of His very presence, God with us, not only in flesh. . . deeper. . . God with us in our very soul

Flesh touches, hugs, heals, hurts, and hangs on wooden cross.  Redemptive work.

Oh, but Spirit indwells. . . with power and peace, might and meekness, holiness and humility.  Sacred work.

God in us.