Relax. You’ve got time.

too busy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martha vs Mary

Spoiler Alert: It’s ok. You’re fine. Jesus isn’t upset and the Father isn’t disappointed because you are “too busy” for Him. Because you’re not. And, this isn’t about how to get up an hour earlier or stay up later or cram another group Bible study into your already daunting schedule. Relax. Ok?

Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I have been a secret, equal opportunity judger on this one for as long as I can remember. Seeing both sides. A little tough on both of them. I SO want to be like Mary. Yet, I can relate to Martha who resents her. But, how could Martha NOT SEE how important it was to soak up all that Jesus had to say???? Yet, Jesus and His posse had descended on her house and she was responsible to make sure everyone and everything was taken care of and provided…on top of whatever else had to be done on a normal Martha day – unless those things could be put off to make tomorrow more complicated.

Hmmmmm. Torn. Pressured. Offended. Maybe a bit overwhelmed.

Been there? Our hearts yearn for more of Him. To even know what that means in the real world in a real life with real responsibilities and very long days with not enough time in them.

So, we can find ourselves in a very Martha place. Because that’s what our lives look like. A wonderful opportunity walks through our door to spend time with the Master and all we see are the things we need to do. And Him in our house quietly adds pressure to the to-do list and the condemnation in an already crazy life.

So, we make resolutions, grit our teeth, set the alarm earlier, force some quality time with Him (or hate ourselves for every time we hit “snooze”) and wonder why this life doesn’t feel abundant.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or, Martha OR Mary life. I’ve always had the impression that I was either a Martha OR a Mary.

I’m both. You’re both. Not Martha from 9 to 5 and Mary from 5am to 6am. Both. All. Day. Long. 24/7/365.

Really???? How does that work?

[Read more…]

Nothing is impossible

audrey hepburn impossible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a challenging day ahead for me. Maybe for some of you, too. These lyrics have been swirling through my spirit the last 24 hours…

Don’t need to wait for the sun to shine
. Don’t need to wait for the clouds to clear, 
I’ll still sing. 
I know that my God You’re so good

Don’t need to wait for the waves to still
. Don’t need to wait for the storms to calm
. I’ll still sing. 
I know that my God You’re so good

I praise You. You are for me. 
I praise You. Yes, You love me. 
I praise You. You are faithful
. I praise You. You’ll see me through

Your goodness, Your mercy
 shall follow me all my days
. Your goodness, Your mercy 
shall follow me all my days

Words and music: Andrew Tan

Whatever’s in front of you…

If God is for you, what or who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) And, God is definitely for you.

With God, nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27) Jesus said so. Nothing. What we’re facing hasn’t stumped Him or outmatched Him. Whatever it is falls into the “NOTHING” category here.

He’s already overcome whatever it is. Jesus said that here on earth, we would have difficulties and even some harsh stuff happen. But, He said to go ahead and be cheerful (whaaaaat???). Why? Because He has already overcome this world and all it has to throw at us.

John 16:33 (HCSB)
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
John 16:33 (NLT) “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.”

So, let’s have peace. Let’s take heart and be courageous. He’s conquered and overcome. Already. For us.

Here’s one of my absolute favorite songs. “Nothing Is Impossible” by Planetshakers. I don’t even know how to estimate how many times I’ve listened and sung along. Do yourself a big favor and listen/watch.

God is good & He adores us.

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Get ready to party…

party time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love Psalm 91. It is bold. It is assuring. It is over-the-top. It’s truth.

Psalm 91:14-16 (MSG)
“If you’ll hold on to Me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble. 
I’ll give you the best of care 
if you’ll only get to know and trust Me.
 Call Me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
 I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
 I’ll give you a long life,
 give you a long drink of salvation!”

Stand on it. Stand in it. Stand behind it. Hold on. For dear life. He’s got it – and He’s got you. Get ready to party.

God is good & He adores you.

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Be good to everyone????

be kinder to everyone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 17:13 (NLT)
If you repay good with evil, 
evil will never leave your house.

Most of us probably read this and cannot imagine it pertaining to us. We would never do something bad to someone who has been good to us! But, how many of us have experienced betrayal from someone that we invested ourselves into? A heartbreaking rift with the person we shared the most with? A total lack of appreciation from someone that we helped significantly?

There isn’t anyone that’s reached puberty that hasn’t felt that they’ve done good to someone who returned evil to them. Which means that there are probably a few people out there for every one of us that believe we are that person who did it to them. From their perspective, it is the absolute truth. Just like our stack of betrayal stories and bad turns from others is our truth.

I call those “ain’t it awful” stories. There are lots of categories of “ain’t it awful,” but one that EVERYONE has in common is being hurt or used by other people. Many of those stories are genuinely as awful as we remember them and were traumatic. Some were painful, but have become quite enlarged in our existence by the way we replay them in our thoughts and conversations. Others may have actually just sprung from heated misunderstandings that happened to coincide with a heap of other stressful things happening in one or both people’s day or season.

In the events where someone was hurt or offended by something we did or they thought we did, we know all of the context and influencing issues that resulted in our mis-perceived actions and what happened. It feels like it got blown out of proportion or misunderstood. It certainly doesn’t seem to us to have merited the brokenness that resulted. Sometimes, we know that we just blew it and did something that resulted in someone else’s pain. A purposed choice or a mistake. Painful fallout.

Very often, those are the very same thoughts and the rationale of the person we believe did evil in return for our good to them. We each think we are the victim and the other is the villain.

Not one of us doesn’t sit on BOTH sides of this. Not one of us. [Read more…]

Humility – it may not be what you think

humility 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)
Humility and fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.

Wealth. Honor. Life.

WEALTH: abundance of valuable material possessions or resources: abundant supply: profusion or lavish supply: riches (according to various dictionaries)

HONOR: esteem: respect: privilege: superior standing: distinction (according to various dictionaries)

LIFE: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body: vitality: resilience: longevity: a state of being characterized by the capacity for growth: active strength of body or mind: gusto: vibrance (according to various dictionaries)

Deal. I’ll take it. Who wouldn’t want all that???? But, wait. How does that come?

HUMILITY: without pride: without haughtiness: without arrogance: the absence of any feelings of being better than others: reflective and expressing a spirit of deference or submission: esteeming and consideration of another above oneself: readiness and willingness to yield to another (according to various dictionaries)

FEAR OF THE LORD: wonder: awe: humble reverence and acknowledgement: consistent awareness: appropriate elevation and positioning in our lives: honoring His preeminence (paramount rank, supremacy and importance): an inward attitude and stance that results in a life of expression and being that reflects Christ, honors Christ and is Christ-like. (multiple theological resources, scripture, great teachings and years of meditating and studying have boiled down to this understanding for me)

While I am a great fan of life, honor and wealth, I was never all that drawn to humility and was not too endeared to the concept of a God I needed to be afraid of. I never found being scared of someone a great basis for relationship. Yet, the phrasing “fear of the LORD” was all through the Bible. Not one of my favorites.

But, studying the original Hebrew and Greek helped. I particularly love the way the Greek language expresses this “fear” without watering it down to something unimportant and irrelevant in any way…as a “wholesome, serious caution.” I can translate and apply that…”Weighty. With authority. To be acknowledged. Of preeminent (above all other) influence.” Not scary.
 
Humility was also a difficult concept for me. What most people called humble just looked mousey and weak. Like a doormat or wallflower. Not appealing or admirable. Seemingly impossible for me. Man, was I mistaken in my perception.

To be humble or have the quality of humility is nothing like I thought it to be. It actually takes strength and courage to be humble. Humility says that I accept what God says above what I think or say. Over what anyone else thinks or says. His ways over my ways. His Truth above my facts. His hope instead of my fears. His grace in my loss and failure. How He sees me and what He says about me over and above what I – or anyone else – says or thinks about me.

True humility can actually seem arrogant. Because God through His Word says some pretty amazing things about us.

He says I am righteous. (Romans 3:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Romans 5:17, Ephesians 4:24)

He says I am His beloved child. (1 John 3:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, Colossians 3:12, Romans 8:38-39)

He says that I have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

He says that I am an ambassador of Christ – an authorized and special representative of Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

He says that I can do all things through Christ Who is my strength. (Philippians 4:13)

He says that He delights in me. (Psalm 147:11, Zephaniah 3:17)

God loves me as much as He loves Jesus. (John 17:23)

He says I am so important to Him that my name is actually engraved on His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)

He thinks precious thoughts about me. Lots of them. (Psalm 139:17-18, Psalm 40:5)

Oh. My. This list could go on and on. And, it does! Although it may seem counter-intuitive, believing this and knowing this is humility.

So, believe what He says and thinks instead of what you or anyone else says or thinks about you. Take His Word over your own opinions. Don’t lose your awe and wonder of God. Revere and acknowledge Him.

Make sure that He is given the highest place in your thoughts and all considerations and decisions. Get to know Him through His Word and quietly seeking Him so that all that He is to you and for you will fill you up and overflow as an expression of Who He is in You and Who you are in Him in the life you live. Let His ways and His Word be real and seriously considered parameters and cautions and the basis for thoughts and actions.

When you do, you won’t lack any necessary or good thing. The supply you need will be abundant and more than enough. Things will change in the way you’re received and perceived. There will be an increase in respect and admiration and favor. Even when people don’t agree with you or may not even like you, more often than not, there will be honor. And, you will grow and flourish and strengthen in every aspect of your life. The very essence of the Life Giver will make things new and invigorated and thrilling. The things that need to die away will do so and passion, hope, grace, mercy, fulfillment and all things pertaining to life and godliness are yours in abundance. (2 Peter 1:3, Romans 8:32, Romans 8:28, Mathew 7:11)

Get ready…because we have His Word on it!

God is good and He adores you. Revel in that.

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He Restores My Soul

He restores my soul

After the storm…

Rose after storms

 

 

 

 

 

This is from my rose garden yesterday. The beauty of creation still amazes me. Every day. This rose – and all the roses in the garden – have gone through some pretty serious storms the last few weeks. Strong winds. Hard, pounding rains. Falling branches. Some didn’t survive. Some did; but with serious damage. But, I am amazed at how many withstood the storms and are stunning in their resilience and beauty. My prayer is that I stand strong in the storms and that I allow God to reveal Himself and to restore and bring beauty. That’s just Who He is.

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There is always beauty…

rose beauty

We Have His Word On It!

God keeps His promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God proves true,
 He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.

 

It seems like politicians make a long list of promises before we elect them and then have a longer list (generally blaming someone or something else) later about why they couldn’t fulfill their promises.

Divorce court is the place to finalize the brokenness of “forever” promises between husbands and wives.

In a world of cheap promises and meaningless words, the solidity and veracity of God’s Word and how clearly it reveals His character continues to breathe fresh life into this new life in Christ. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and He made me new. As a “new creature” because I am now “in Christ,” the Word says that old things are passed away (dead) and all things have been made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It is through the Word that I hear the wisdom and instruction of the Lord on how to live this new life. The new person I am cannot function in the deadness of the person that I was. The Word gives us the history of our new family, the way our new family and each of its members should operate as representatives and ambassadors of this new life, and clear instruction and correction to get there – and most of all reveals the love and heart of God towards us…His children.

2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.

When we come to know Him – through His Word and through His Spirit bringing His Word to life in us, the new life in Christ becomes HD…High Definition. It is clear and it is beautiful and limitless in the ways God’s love can be expressed in our lives. Jesus said that if we are alive in Him and His Word is alive in us, we can ask God for anything and receive it. (John 15:7) Pretty bold stuff! Jesus said it…so it’s true. But, how? Especially when it doesn’t seem to be showing up that way…

We became alive in Him when we received Him and became believers or Christ followers. That didn’t take any effort on our part other than believing and acceptance. Done. For the word to become alive in us, we have to hear it, read it, study it, seek Him in it. Receive its truth.

1 John 5:14-15 tells us that the confidence we have in Him is that if we ask ANYTHING according to His will, He hears us. And, when He hears us, we HAVE whatever we have petitioned Him for. Anything? Really??? ANYTHING????????? [Read more…]

Love and Enjoy Life Anyway

ok to love and enjoy life