Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wild Things

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 84: Today... I am grateful for wild things.


Today, I was struck by the freedom that comes from embracing what is wild within us. We can color outside the lines. I think God smiles when we do. 

As the mother of sons... I am familiar with wild things. I like them. Our mission is not to tame them, but to grow them. Sure, we put up some boundaries to keep them safe... boundaries that most children will push... but part of discovering their path is experiencing the wonder of their wild. 

Climb the tree a little higher.
Build the tower a little taller.
Jump out of airplanes.

Sky dive.
Explore science a little deeper.
Try strange foods.
Experience sleeplessness.
Seek new places.
Meet new faces.


One of the great lies of this world is the idea living out a relationship with Jesus is boring, dull and uneventful. Big. Fat. Lie.

Religion and relationship are not the same thing at all. The more we love Him, seek His face and chase after His heart, the more we will find we are filled with love for others. Now, I am a long ways from where I want to be, but I am farther along than I used to be. He never changes, but he changes me.  

Learning to love him with whimsy and abandon... it is where the wild ones are.

It is the moment when we present our lives as a sacrifice to His service... whatever that means.

Ask Noah... called to build the first cruise ship for animals.
Ask Moses... who saw one adventure after the next.
Ask Peter... he called him to step out onto the waves.
Ask Paul... Mr. Religion before he met the Master.
Ask Nehemiah... who left his high post with the King to rebuild Jerusalem's wall with a bunch of complainers.

Ask anyone who dared to trust and step out in faith.

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

Nobody puts God in a box. He is greater than our human minds can imagine, yet... He wants to be with us, know us and grow us. His love is limitless and it knocks down walls. It already conquered death.

Today, my prayer is to seek a little more wild... and to see the potential for adventure when He lays it at my feet. He really is an amazing God.



Today... I am grateful for wild things.






Friday, March 24, 2017

Do Right



Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 83: Today, I am grateful for people who consistently do the right thing.

Not the easy thing. Not the convenient thing. Not the profitable thing. Do the good thing... the right thing. Period.

This thought resurfaces from earlier in the week, but with a different twist. A different gratitude.

I am so grateful for those who consistently choose and do the right thing. Not with perfection, but with a heart of encouragement that makes a difference in the lives of all around them. They impact my days... every day.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

By Friday, do you ever feel like you are simply out of energy and out of grace? I do. We all get tired. Still, he promises that He is the source that does not run dry.

We can tap into something bigger... and definitely better... than what we can do on our own.

Persist. Press on. Let Him be our enough! Even if it does not seem that we are being treated fairly for the moment. In time... he promises... people reap what they sow. He keeps his promises.

Dad's saying comes to mind once again. I'm old enough now to have seen it play out with consistent truth: "The wheels of God's justice grind slowly but excessively fine."

In God's time... we all reap what we sow... unless we seek His face and His grace that came to us to be with us, for us and not against us. He became the sin offering... the lamb... and the door. When the curtain ripped and tore the veil into the holy of holies... a priest was no longer needed for protection and intercession. The scriptures are pretty clear about that.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9

He is our high priest... in the order of Melchizedek.

The giggle of that is that He is already well are of our sins. Confession is for our souls to be free. His grace that covers them has already been gifted to us. Confession is the blood red paint brush that somehow... when applied... creates the perfect shade of white.

"Though your sins be as scarlet... they shall be as white as snow." King David knew it. Zacchaeus knew it. The Samaritan woman believed and claimed it. Rahab... was changed by it.

Jesus endured that we might be free of the burden of sin. Free to know Him, love Him and plug into His endless love and compassion. Children of the the source. Children who can live with other people and still do what is good and what is right.

So, it will be with those who harden their hearts to the Holy Spirit. Some show no mercy to others. Some will refuse Jesus and his call to accept the mercy offered through the cross. He wants to be our door... or reality changing portal... and to make us right before a holy and righteous God.

We are pilgrims for a season. Learning His truth and His ways as he breathes light, life and hope into our ordinary days. I am grateful for those who hold the lantern light the way. Not perfect people... but those who try every day.

Today, I am grateful for people who consistently do the right thing.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Anchors


Image from pktfuel.com
Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 82: Today... I am grateful for anchors.

One of the most adventurous things we have ever done was sailing from Coconut Grove, FL to the Bahamas on a 42 foot sailboat. Crazy? I'd never even been on a sailboat. 

The captain and cook, the two of us... and another couple had the adventure of a lifetime. 
One of the things we learned quickly was the importance of the anchor. When anchored, we could relax and enjoy what was around us. 

The anchor was such a small thing, but it made all the difference as to whether we were at work and watchful... or at rest. Funny thing is, we couldn't even see it doing it's best work. 

The anchor did what anchors do... and we learned to trust it. 

Learning to trust the unseen isn't always easy. Children do it better than grown ups. Is it life that steals our faith... or is it putting our faith in the wrong things?

Anchors allow us to rest. They, also, help us ride out the storm. Making anchor 

The image has a piece of scripture from Hebrews 6. As I explored the many translations, this one from the J.B. Phillips New Testament seemed the perfect choice. Since the passage is from Hebrews, we know that it was written primarily to those with Jewish heritage so that they might see Jesus through the things they knew, but did not yet understand. 

 Among men it is customary to swear by something greater than themselves. And if a statement is confirmed by an oath, that is the end of all quibbling. So in this matter, God, wishing to show beyond doubt that his plan was unchangeable, confirmed it with an oath. So that by two utterly immutable things, the word of God and the oath of God, who cannot lie, we who are refugees from this dying world might have a source of strength, and might grasp the hope that he holds out to us. This hope we hold as the utterly reliable anchor for our souls, fixed in the very certainty of God himself in Heaven, where Jesus has already entered on our behalf, having become, as we have seen, “High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek”. -Hebrews 6:16-20 (Phillips)

What does that last line mean? Under the Law of Moses, Jesus did not qualify for priesthood because he was not a descendant of Aaron. In Hebrews, Jews considering Jesus as Lord are reminded of Melchizedek, another priest who did not come from the house of Aaron. No... Jesus came from the line of David... who was from the line of Judah. 

In another twist... or piece of the puzzle as I like to view it... the valid Kings of Israel were of the lion of Judah. At Jesus death, the curtain into the "Holy of Holies",accessible only to the Israelite high priests ripped. 

The Lamb of God... the Lion of Judah... was the sacrifice, the King and the door to redemption. This time, no curtain. All invited to enter into his presence with a sincere and seeking heart the only real requirement. Pretty amazing. 

He is our anchor. The cross made the way for us to make it through any storm. I am learning that it is more of a portal than a door. (That will keep Dr. Who TARDIS fans pondering a bit.) Jesus knocks on the door to our hearts and we must choose to let him in. He provides the portal into new life. Eternal life. 

To the criminal on the cross beside Jesus... the one who confessed and believed... death became a door. "Today, you will be with me."

Our God is not limited by silly things like time and space. My human mind can't really fathom it all. But... Jesus is the anchor. We can be steadfast. 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.-James 1:12

Today, I am grateful for anchors and that we have an anchor.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Small and Mighty

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 81: Today... I am grateful for the small and mighty.

One of my favorite things to see is young people doing big things.A While back, I found a fun blog post on a little girl her parents call "Mayhem". That makes me laugh. Like her parents, she is very creative and likes to create clothing out of found items around the house, mostly papers and packing tape. This is what struck me about their parenting:

When she has an idea... a dress she wants to make... they instruct her to figure it out and THEN they will help her. 

Mayhem knows exactly how many sheets of paper it takes to make herself a top or a skirt. She is taping, cutting, folding and using her imagination. She is developing major critical thinking skills and might one day take over the world. 

On some projects, mom says the labor is 50/50, but little Mayhem is the designer and is constantly working it out in her head. Occasionally, she does a design and production completely on her own, with no help from Mom. She was four when Huffington Post did an article on her where these pictures were found. 



Mayhem is feeding her soul's need to create. Her parents encourage and support her. They don't crush her dreams. They set some limits on what they will buy for her ideas and sometimes, she has to adjust due to "no budget" for that. She does and sometimes that only feeds her creativity. 



Mayhem is living out her soul's need to create with her parents encouragement and support. l love this quote from Margaret Mead:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

The small and mighty should never be underestimated. Especially, in this lenten season. 

I think back to about 30 AD... there was a small group of men and women who had walked with a man named Jesus. They were with him as he went from town to town. 

Jesus taught wisely about God from childhood. In his ministry, He healed the sick, returned sight to the blind, healed the lepers, multiplied a little food to feed thousands, raised the dead... and then, was brutally crucified and raised from the dead. He conquered death that we might have life. Death could not hold him. He won. So, we could win, too. 

For those who believe... we are to suit up in the full armour of God and share the good news. Our attire is not made of paper and tape. That would not do. 

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." -Ephesians 6:10-11

We can be strong because we have God gear when worldly mayhem breaks out. 

We are reminded: 

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  -1 John 4:4

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us? -Romans 8:31

Like Miss Mayhem has loving  and supportive parents that grow her, guide her, teach her and let her think for herself... so our Heavenly Father loves us. 

A tiny movement of love, light, hope, justice and mercy continues to make the insufferable more bearable. A small group of committed citizens can make a difference. 

Today... I am grateful for the small and mighty. I am grateful that although we are small... He is mighty. 







Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Morning Cravings

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 80: Today... I am grateful for morning cravings.
Image from: The Word for the Day
Some think 5:30 am... my time of day... is too early.  I am rested, relaxed and the dark silence of the just before dawn hour has a sacredness about it that has a word lover like me stumped for the right words to describe it.  

All seems right with the world. What isn't right... doesn't seem so daunting when there is time to get grounded, prayed up and geared up for the day. In the morning, I have developed a craving for a fresh touch of his grace through time spent seeking him with a grateful heart each morning. 

Pre-boots. Pre-sandals. Pre-bra! It's good. 

Quiet, coffee and Jesus. 

All three are pretty special on their own... the combination is day changing. 

Practicing daily thankfulness is life changing. I'm so grateful for those who have joined the journey into gratitude. This scripture needs to go into our favorites:


"My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you." -Isaiah 26:9a (NIV)

That sums it up. My soul yearns for a fresh touch of His Spirit first thing in the morning. Just like it needs the coffee (or your beverage of choice) and the quiet rituals for preparing for a new day. 

Each week comes with it's own brand of craziness. That's life on planet earth. If we don't focus on our purpose, it is easy to get tossed in the waves of this week's wackiness. No need to be afraid. He promises to go with us wherever we go.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

We can be fearless. We can choose the right thing. We can go against swim upstream when called and be lifted on eagles wings when our human strength is spent. Sometimes, I believe he does his best work in our hearts when we find ourselves in a place of total reliance on him. He wants that devotion in our blessings, but for me... and many... trials remind me how much I need his intervention in my life. 

He wants us to crave that connection in our ordinary days.  Ordinary Mondays, Tuesdays... Wednesdays and Thursdays, too. He want's to be with us. 

I want to crave Him without the trial. I want to crave him like coffee and dark chocolate. 

Gratitude seems to be a key to unlocking that door. 

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13

Hold nothing back. Offer it all up. Crave Him.

Gratitude does not change God... it changes us!

Today... I am grateful for morning cravings.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Feeling of Rebirth



Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 79: Today... I am grateful for the feeling of being reborn.

Happy first day of spring!

How perfect for a Monday. It is a new week and a new vocabulary word.

renascent: (adj) being reborn; springing again into being or vigor

Another adjective I have overlooked and uncovered. It is perfect for this time of year. The days are longer. The sun is warmer. The ground finds hope and springs to life. The joy of it all is nearly tangible.

Isn't that what discovering Jesus is like, too? New life. Rebirth. Coming fully alive. It is a relationship like no other. The cycle of failures becomes an understanding that in him, our past brokenness is a part of our uniqueness in him. Our mission... if we choose to accept it... is to know Him and to share him with others.

This new life is one of adventure... and surprise. Just like spring. Boring? I don't think so.

Short and sweet for a Monday. The smell of spring makes me renascent.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5:17

Today... I am grateful for the feeling of being reborn.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Price of Peace

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 78: Today... I am grateful peace is priceless. 

Money can't buy peace. 

Money can be buy comfort and luxury, but not rest. Rest comes with peace. Peace is from God.

Good stewardship with money is obedience to God. We are cautioned to be wise with our resources. There is a financial peace that comes with God honoring use of our resources. 

We honor God when we tithe and when we give to those is need.  We are called to share in community and with our neighbors.

 Money doesn't buy peace, but our use of it is either God honoring or something else. 

What about the price of peace? One of the things we rarely talk about is the peace that comes when choose integrity over what is easy, what makes us look good or personal gain. Many times, integrity comes at a high price... but the cost of the peace it brings is priceless. 

I found this quote... with no one to credit... but it struck a note:
"If it costs you your peace, it's too expensive"

Doing the right thing can be hard. Do it anyway. Peace over profit. Peace over promotion. Peace over popularity. Peace over power. Peace is powerful. Peace is priceless.

Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. have said these things to youthat in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”-John 16:32-33

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, trying to tell them that the cross was before him and his time with them was limited. His words still speak peace. As the Father was with him... he is with us. Take heart and don't be discouraged. 

Sometimes, we are scattered... or feel that way. Jesus has been there.
Sometimes, we can't do all we want to do or be all the places we want to be... He has been there, too. He agonized over the thought of leaving his loved ones here. 

When the hour seems lonely and dark... "The Father is with me." He's been in tougher spots. 

He speaks these truths to speak peace into the darkness and shed His light. The world will have trials and tribulation... but we belong to The Overcomer. We can let him speak peace into any struggle at hand. The Father is with us. The Holy Spirit is our comforter. Jesus is with us...until the end of the age. 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”-Matthew 28:19-20


Promote peace. Be a fan. Be a promoter. Be His hands and feet. He is the Prince of Peace. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23

Anything that tempts us to sacrifice our peace is simply not worth it.  Peace paid too high a price that we might have peace, too. 

Today... I am grateful peace is priceless.