Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Birdsong

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 59: Today, I am grateful for the bird's song.

Yesterday, when I let Daisy Mae out for her morning romp in the backyard, I was startled and excited by a new sound. Birds singing! Yes, this endless winter season is going to come to an end. 

The previous day, a co-worker paused to celebrate the obviously longer light in our days (thanks Daniel). The very next morning, I heard birds singing. Not just one... but a host of feathered fa-la-las. It is very cold today, but the hope in the birdsong can not be ignored. 

The older I get, the more fascinating I find our feathered friends. They don't worry. They simply do what they were born to do: fly, discover, dance, eat and sing. 

I was in high school when I first added this quote to my quote box:  

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. -unknown

We don't have to have all of the answers. We simply need to find our voice and sing. Perfect pitch is not require... but aim for a perfect heart. 

Sing because spring is around the corner. Sing if you have someone to love. Sing if you have someone who loves you back... including a fur-baby. Sing when the first green signs of new life push through the barren winter landscape. Sing through sadness and in joyful times. Sing scriptures and praises. Sing because you have a song. 

The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.  -Song of Songs 2:12

We may revisit this verse when the flowers arrive, but the "season of singing birds" was too perfect to resist. 

Today, I am grateful for the bird's song.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Right Threads

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 58: Today, I am grateful for the right threads. 

Mama Ina Mae is a thread snob. She has always been very frugal. Yet, when she sewed and loaded her sewing machine with thread, only the best would do. The right threads mattered for the best results, fewer breaks and helped avoid machine jams. Cheap thread was not worth the headache or the time. The right thread made a difference.

"Cool threads" is a phrase from the 70's complimented a fashion choice. We don't use it much anymore. It makes me smile to remember some of the over the top... and at times ridiculous... fashions we survived. Cool threads, although they seemed right at the time, were not always practical or comfortable. 

This image grabbed my eye today:
"When you're hanging on by a thready, make sure it's the hem of His garment."

My friend, Jann Saulsberry, did an amazing bible journaling page based on the scripture where the bleeding woman is healed by her faith at merely the touch of the hem of Jesus' garment. She has allowed me to share it here. Jann's art and the reading of a fictional novel by Ted Dekker (30 AD and 33 AD)  at the same time , made this scripture even more precious. Dekker adds a fictional backstory for the woman that was reflective of the culture. Jann brought her to life with her pencils. There are so many times I wish I knew more of the story behind the scriptures. 

Art by: Jann Saulsberry
This scripture has become one of my favorite moments with Jesus in the New Testament. His response to her faith melt my heart. 

The woman would not be thwarted in her attempts to touch Jesus. She sought him out, fought the crowds and knew in her heart that all she needed was a touch. Grasping for a thread from his garment, it was all she needed to be healed. She knew it in her heart. She reached out seeking only a touch, but Jesus stopped, probably scaring her to death. He singled her out.

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:22

Her faith and courage... as a woman in that time and culture...  amaze me. Jesus was headed somewhere else, but he paused to give her his full attention. He felt her faith. He knew power had left him to heal her. Many were touching him as he tried to get through the crowds, but her touch was different. It was her faith that moved him. 

Instead of grasping at straws when life gets crazy, we can reach for the hem of his garment. 

Today, I am grateful for the right threads.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Live and Rest

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 57: Today, I am grateful we can live in the shelter and rest in the shadow.

It seems that in the winter, there are more deaths. Several in my world have had great losses recently... deaths and relationships. The kinds of losses that change your everyday living. My heart aches for them. I am a word girl, but words fail. 

The book of Job teaches us that friends who are present are helpful. Friends who talk too much and tell their own stories are not. 

Sorrow is a full cup. It takes time to empty it out. Grief is real. It is a reminder of great love. We live in a society that wants to numb the pain of losses. Feeling it... plowing through it... learning from it will make us better prepared for the next hard thing. 

This scripture was perfect today. His Word is always perfect. 

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. -Psalm 91:1

We can live in His shelter.
We can rest in His shadow. 
We have nothing to fear.
He is near. 

He is our enough. He is our calm and our protection. We are safe to cry, rest, recover and find restoration. We can choose where we live. In the shelter of the Most High... or trying it n our own. He lets us choose. 

Today, I am grateful we can live in the shelter and rest in the shadow.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Follow the Leader

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 56: Today, I am grateful we can follow the leader.

In this crazy world, there are many voices calling us to follow. Following the clothing trends, the social media trends, the technology trends is exhausting. They change with the wind. 

In this world of uncertainty, constant change and confusion, there is great comfort in having Jesus as our compass and guide. He may not always lead us into calm waters, but he never abandons us. 

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. -Colossians 2:6

There is no need to fear. "Fear not!" is a common statement in Old and New Testaments. 

We are, hopefully, coming to the end of a very long, cold winter. It is always a wonder to me how the birds, squirrels and wildlife survive the deep midwest freeze. Nature's mysterious ways are a reflection on their creator. Then I remember this verse:

"Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:31

He pays tender care to the sparrows and other animals... yet, He loves us so much more. His delight when we choose to love Him in return and follow his lead... it makes the angels sing. 

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. -Luke 15:7

This world and this week can get pretty crazy. We don't have to ride the crazy train. We have a Lord who loves to lead us through each minute, each hour... each day. 

Today, I am grateful we can follow the leader.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Even If

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 55: Today, I am grateful we can grow our "even if" attitudes. 

"What if" = Fear
"Even if" = Faith
-Source unknown

What a great way to figure out if we are living in fear or living in faith! Now, for this oldest child, safety girl... I have embraced plenty of "what ifs". Ask Randy-My-Love about my ridiculous vacation packing. The struggle is real... and costly if we fly. 

It is good to plan and be prepared, but on the other side is finding the courage to live in the moment. We can learn to live and love out loud, regardless of another human's judgement. We can dance when the spirit moves us. We can sing! We can embrace new adventures. 

Living out our faith is the furthest thing from being "boring" or "dull". Living in love requires us to do something. Lassoing an opinion that doesn't need to be expressed (some call it taming the tongue). Running to protect a soul in danger is love (some call it laying down your life for a brother). Celebrating the ordinary happy... and sharing the grief of another (Romans 12:15) are active expressions of love. 

When we decided to choose Him "even if"... not "only if it is convenient"... we know our hearts are set on more than the things of this world. 

Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I serve...". Paul said," For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. "-Philippians 1:21 He didn't just say it, he believed it. "Even if" found him in the comfort of truly believing and trusting his Lord. 

Setting our hearts on Him and committing to the "even ifs" changes things. In this world full of illness, evil and in justice, we can trust that he will be with us, he will not fail us and no matter what this day brings. We win in the end, when we begin and end with Him.

Reality check. We only have to get through this day. Let's do it together! We were designed for relationships and community. Even if... it is hard. Even if... we are tired. Even if... we don't clearly understand God's hand. Even if. 

"But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled" -1 Peter 3:14

Doing the right thing is never wrong. 

Today, I am grateful we can grow our "even if" attitudes. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Refining Fire

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 54: Today, I am grateful for fires that refine. 

This year, my "one little word" to focus on is "burning". I tried to find another word, but this one persisted relentlessly...and I submitted. It was likely the urging of the Holy Spirit, so... I continue to look for the lessons and the learning that spark from the fires of daily living. 

"You can't be refined without going through the fire." -Christian Bosse 

To be refined by fire makes me think of any raw material that changes when put to the flame. I am fascinated with the art of blowing glass. Watching artisans at work is mesmerizing. The beautiful things they create are worthy of a special place on the mantle. 

I easily forget when looking at beautiful, finished creations, that each one is the result of a great fire burning. The raw material, the flame and burning heat and the master's touch come together to create a unique piece of glass art. Each one is a work of heart. (The Jack Pine Studio in Ohio creates these gorgeous pieces.)

In the same way, we are all raw material in the Master's hand. There are times it takes fire to shape us and refine us. When we offer our lives in service... as a living sacrifice... to go where he leads and to be His hands and feet... we are making our lives an offering. Raw material in His hands. 

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" -Romans 12:1-2

Yes, our God is a consuming fire, but in a way that refines us. 

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire."-Hebrews 12:28-29

Our hope is in Jesus. 

My Bible study is in Job this month. It has been a long, weighty walk through the fires with Job. What a refining fire it turns out to be. Job's character in the most horrible season of his life is strong. Even when broken, he says this:

"Though he slay me, I will hope in him;"Job 13:15a

Job lost all ten of his children in one day. All seven sons and three daughters and their families. How do we even begin to understand that kind of a refining fire? 

Thank God that by his merciful hand, most of us will never experience that kind of loss. Still, we all lose loved ones and find ourselves in other broken places. Thank God for his artisan's hands that can make something beautiful out of our messes, when we trust His heart. 

Today, I am grateful for fires that refine. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Born Creators

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 53: Today, I am grateful we were born creators. 

We were created to create! We can't help it. It is in our DNA.


"In the beginning, God created..." -Genesis 1:1

"So God created human beings in his own image... "Genesis 1:27

No wonder we find ourselves drawn to creative adventures. For some it is a business building plan, a gourmet meal, a handmade clothing item or a canvas with paint. We all have something in us that need to create because we were made in his image. 

We were born makers. We move what we're learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands. -Brene Brown

Savor the truth. His image is written in our genes. Let the creative fires in your soul burn bright. Find the joy and wonder in making something. What can we make today? 

Today, I am grateful we were born creators. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Ordinary Sweet Things

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 52: Today, I am grateful for ordinary, sweet things.

There so many ordinary, everyday sweet things that fill our days. So many that gratitude is overlooked. This daily gratitude post has continued because there are little things... little moments... that are worthy an intentional pause for thankfulness. 

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Ordinary sweet things like a favorite spot on the sofa or chair make us smile. Favorite pajamas and a favorite mug full of a favorite warm beverage help us face the long winter days. Cozy, right? 

What about ordinary sweet things that simply do what they were designed to do? 

I have a home... a roof that doesn't leak. I have shoes that don't leak. I have a car that doesn't leak. I have a washing machine, toilet, shower and dishwasher... and none of them leak. Most of us could come up with a weeks worth of gratitude, simply by listing our ordinary daily use items that don't leak.  

Keeping it simple today. 

Today, I am grateful for everyday, ordinary, sweet things.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

God Does Not Hide

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 51: Today, I am grateful God doesn't hide.

God doesn't hide. We might attempt to hide from him, like Adam and Eve did in the garden as a result of pride, disobedience, sin and shame. but God does not hide. 

Now, he might not always reveal himself in expected places. Remember Elijah? 

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

 Yes, He was in the gentle whisper. He is always with us. He promised. The Holy Spirit keeps that promise. Still, we might have to be patient because he does not operate by our clock. The wait can seem frustrating, but His way is always better. When impatience or pride lead to disobedience, things get messy. 

I love to imagine Elijah on the mountain hiding. He was over the job title of prophet and Queen Jezebel's mission to kill him! Elijah loved his Lord and wanted to be with him. God was always with him. Angels took care of him. He was frustrated and tired. He found himself in a waiting place. An intimacy came from Elijah learning to wait. He settled for nothing less than the best when he learned to wait on the Lord. God doesn't hide, but he takes His own sweet time. He arrived not in the windstorm or earthquake... but in the still, soft voice. 

God and Elijah worked things out. Elisha would replace Elijah. Elijah continued to trust and walk in obedience. He had the most amazing reward. He did not die.  

"As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven." -2 Kings 2:11

Not a bad end of the day or end of a career for Elijah! Elisha was able to watch the event unfold and surely that memory gave him strength and courage on the hard days of leading the people of Israel after Elijah was taken to heaven. 

“God rewards those who seek Him. Not those who seek doctrine of religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself. And what is the reward? What awaits those who seek Jesus? Nothing short of the heart of Jesus.” - Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus

We can seek His face like Elijah. We can learn to wait out the windstorm and the earthquakes for the whispers of God. We can learn to settle for nothing short of the heart of Jesus. Not as defined by creeds and doctrines, but by knowing Him and His Word. He doesn't hide, but he isn't always where we expect to find Him. 

Where are the unexpected placed you have found yourself deeply aware of the very, real presence of God? A labor and delivery room. A dying loved one's bedside. A landscape covered with sparkling snow. At sunrise in a fishing boat. In a flower garden. In a puppy's kiss. In a worship service when "10,000 Reasons" is sung in the fellowship of friends. 

Today, I am grateful God doesn't hide.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Kindness to the Ungrateful

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 50: Today, I am grateful He is kind to the ungrateful.

How many times am I ungrateful for the many blessings around our table? We have a table, food to eat, money to purchase that food and people we love deeply. Yet, there are days I forget to be grateful. It is so easy to get wrapped up in life's little details. Things that in the big picture, don't really matter at all. 

Luke 6 is a big chapter in Jesus recorded ministry. He states he is "Lord of the Sabbath". He delivers what we know as "The Sermon on the Mount" with guidelines for daily for living.There are some challenging instructions for living that require us fighting our monsters within our human, sinful nature. 

This passage struck me today, because at first glance I thought about the times it seems that those who are ungrateful and wicked seem to receive blessings. Then, I remembered that there are times... I am ungrateful and wicked, too. It is only by God's grace and Jesus' work on the cross that I don't get what I deserve. 

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate." -Luke 6:35-36

The instruction is to love and be compassionate with others... even the ones that drive us crazy and are "wicked" in our eyes. This does not negate the need for justice and doing what is right. But, even in justice, there is room for compassion. 

I recently finished the book Everybody Always by Bob Goff. One of his stories is about a group of prisoners in Minnesota who felt the challenge of trying to express God's love when they are stuck behind bars. They had been reading his first book, Love Does. They came up with a plan. Homeless people need socks. They save their money and buy socks at the commissary. They send the socks to Bob and he makes sure they are given out to those in need. They learned to look beyond their circumstance to serve another human in love. Isn't that amazing? They have found purpose, love is shared and a need is met. Love is crazy and oh, so good! 

I am grateful that His love and kindness are not limited to the days I get it right. I long to have a heart that is as creative as that group of men behind bars in Minnesota when it comes to loving the people that irritate me. 

We can let the burning light of love direct our days when we pray. How do we pray? We can pray to see with His eyes and to love with His heart. 

Today, I am grateful He is kind to the ungrateful.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sanctified Pain

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 49: Today, I am grateful for sanctified pain.

What in the world is that? One of the biggest struggles many people have before coming to Christ is what to do with pain? How can this great, big, omnipotent loving God allow us such deep sorrows, wounds and pain? 

That is not something one could even begin to address in a simple gratitude devotional. Still, this quote struck me like a lightning bolt. Verses started connecting like a dot-to-dot puzzle, giving a clearer image. 

Remember, childlike faith and understanding is enough. We can savor His Word with a burning desire to know more, but in the end, it is the faith and understanding of a child that most pleases our Lord. Look at this quote:

"Pain, if sanctified, creates tenderness toward others." - C.H. Spurgeon

Wow. Read that again. 

I grew up with the word sanctified. For some it might be unfamiliar. It is the idea of making something holy by setting setting it apart for a holy purpose. What are the possibilities when a human intentionally chooses to live life with a holy purpose?

Each one of us is unique in our faith story. As we fall more in love with Jesus and the Word of God, the Holy Spirit's whispers and urgings become more clear. How we live and love changes. How we deal with pain changes, too. Our purpose for getting up in the morning becomes more in tune with His purpose. 

None of us is perfect. We are not sinless, but as my dear friend, Todd, articulated yesterday, "It isn't that we do not sin; we don't practice sin." 

Does that make sense? I don't practice law. I live under the laws of the land. I don't practice sin.  I fall into sin when the "me" becomes more important than the "we" in my daily living choices. The "we" of "God and me" and the "we" of living in relationship with others. He doesn't want us to practice sin. He longs for us to practice love, until practice makes perfect. 

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” "-Mark 12:30-31

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." -1 John 4:18

Loving Him like crazy means loving my neighbors, too. Loving my neighbors means sharing their pain and sorrow. Offering our time to sit with the sick or hurting... and to love those that seem unlovable is an offering to our God. We don't have to be wealthy, healthy or even brilliant. If we are truly in Christ, His love is in us. Loving people is a moment by moment decision... but with practice, it becomes more second nature. 

We need to be "all in", not just dipping our toes in the waters of His love. He wants to light a fire inside our hearts that drives us to seek out ways to be His hands and feet... salt and light. Again, two of my favorite verses, but this time, they really connect. 

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." -Romans 12:1

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." -Romans 12:15

When we experience pain, we learn so much. I don't believe God sends it, but he does allow it. In our pain, we find ourselves actively seeking His face, His grace and His way. At least, for me this is true. Why do my listening skills seem to improve in the trials? It is often in the struggles that we experience the comfort of learning to "Be still and know". 

I have been reading the book of Job. Pain isn't any fun, but we find an intimacy with God in the place of brokenness that many struggle to find when life is comfortable. Trials and troubles are present in this fallen world. The hard things we experience equip us to be present with those who weep. 

Job's friends were a great comfort during  the seven days they wept and grieved with him and didn't say a word. When they began talking... they were no longer helpful. In fact, they magnified his pain. I need to remember that little lesson. Be present. Be sensitive. Be kind. Be quiet. 

In our own seasons of sorrow and pain, we learn to lean into His love and the Word. We can find purpose beyond the trials. In time, the oyster turns the painful grain of sand into a pear. Time and pressure result in a diamond. He didn't promise it would be easy, but he did promise that he would be with us... always... until the end of the age. 

Today, I am grateful for sanctified pain.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

He Calls Me Beloved

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 48: Today, I am grateful He calls me beloved.

To be identified as someone's beloved is pretty special. One of my favorite features on my phone is that I can say "Call Randy-My-Love" and it calls my husband. How cool is that!!!

A number of years ago, I updated him in my iPhone as "Randy-My-Love". I like the daily reminder that he is my chosen one... the one who by God's grace (and a great deal of patience on his part)... chooses me back. Every. Single. Day. 

It really is the coolest thing. Seriously. It's been 34 years. I don't remember not loving him. We are far from perfect... but we try every day to do our best to love and be loved. I need to remembers to act like someone's beloved. There is an "us" that is bigger than the "me". 

It is still February, so it is still "Love month". This CS Lewis Quote captured my attention. It is articulate and true: 

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that He called me Beloved." -CS Lewis 

Isn't that thought a great thought to hold close to our hearts? 

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us."-Roman 8:35-37

"he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. " -Ephesians 1:5-6

We are indeed His beloved. 

Today, I am grateful He calls me beloved.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Promises Kept

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 47: Today, I am grateful for promises kept. 

One of the wonders of God is his constancy. For me, there is great comfort in the knowledge that He is not swayed like the branches on a tree in the wind. He is mighty and strong... but we can trust him to stay true to his character. 

I love this scripture passage. It is short, yet explores so many facets of our Lord. 

He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners."-Psalm 146:6-7  

He is powerful, creative, trustworthy, eternal, just and a provider. He keeps his promises. He is all that and so much more. 

One of my favorite promises is from John 14:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. -John 14:1-3

This world has troubles... but our hope is not in the world. It is in Him. 

Today, I am grateful for promises kept. 

Friday, February 15, 2019


Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 46: Today, I am grateful we are handpicked.

I much prefer to pick my fruits and veggies out by hand, one piece at a time. It is the way to get just the right size and ripeness.

When purchasing a handmade item, I look for the pieces with the most personality or the colors that appeal. I adore items made from the heart. When I feel the need to freshen up a space or my closet, I hand pick accessories. 

Last fall, I delighted in choosing a couple glass pumpkins to bring home. I am not a big collector of things like that, as I don't love dusting, but my glass pumpkins are tucked into decor around the house all year long. (We live in Morton, and it is always pumpkin season.) The glass is easily washed to keep it dust free. The colors are as varied as the shapes. Choosing was nearly impossible. My Sister-in-love, Jennifer and my nieces were very patient while I decided. Handpicking is a process. 

I am reminded of the way Jesus hand picked His disciples. I believe each one brought something special to the group. Some were invited, but did not follow. Stuff got in the way. When I look at the diversity of his disciples and his circle of friends, I am in awe of the way he could sort through the rough edges and see what they could become through His grace and love. 

He still chooses us, and waits for us to choose Him back. Each one of is handpicked for His purpose. 

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. -Ephesians 1:4-6

We are created for a purpose and he delights in our unique qualities. We give Him great pleasure when we strive to figure out who we are in Him... as we learn to live for Him. 

Today, I am grateful we are handpicked.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Meeting Love

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 45: Today, I am grateful for meeting love. 

This world is full of people who compare people. Judgements are often made quickly, through the myopic lens of experience, culture, color or religious tradition. Humans are all full of opinions. The glaring one that we all share is that our opinion is correct. 

I know this from personal experience.  With names like Lindgren, Daschner and Guttendorf in my family tree... we have a pretty good handle on opinionated and stubborn. Unfortunately, that same grit that makes for good workers and persistent people, can surface as opinions that are more hurtful than helpful at times.  

For this Valentines Day post, I think a Bob Goff quote is appropriate. Mr. Love Does says:

"I don't want people to meet my opinions, I want them to meet love." - Bob Goff

When we express love before opinions, it opens the door of influence where people are hurting, struggling and sinking. We live in a culture where people literally are screaming for their rights and opinions. The problem is that one persons so called rights often step on another person's rights and opinions. Whose are more important? 

Jesus lived at a time without social media, but not without social opinions. He lived at a time where the moral compass of the culture was spinning out of control, with many unable to find a sense of true north. Human acted brutally toward each other. Immorality was rampant. Children were sacrificed. Unarmed humans against lions sold out stadiums for entertainment. 

Jesus was an anomaly. They didn't quite know how to respond. 

Those with strict religious codes were offended by his "love before rules" approach. He met people where they were, not fretting about if they were considered deplorables by the social elite. Some were unwanted amongst "the least of these". The sick, the lonely, the scared, the friendless and the unwanted in society were drawn to his love. 

Love was His way. It still is. 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”-John 13:34-35

Meeting love is unforgettable. Be unforgettable. Be love. 
Love changes everything. 

Today, I am grateful for meeting love. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Judas or John?

Daily Gratitude Year 7 - Day 44: Today, I am grateful we can choose to serve like Judas or John.

Yikes! That was my gut response to my CS Lewis quote of the day:

"For you will certainly carry out God's purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John." - CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain

CS Lewis, in all of his brilliance, does not beat around a bush. He calls it like it as he sees it revealed in God's word and in his ways. If we live long enough, we will encounter pain and suffering.  Most of us... by God's mercy...  won't even come close to the depths of Job lived out for a season in his life. Still, we all have illness, pain and loss. How we choose to worship and serve God in that season does no change God... it changes us. 

God's purpose is not always something we can comprehend. We know that his desire to be in a real love relationship with us... one that is honest and reciprocal because of love not duty or fear. It caused Him to go to great lengths for our redemption. 

When our sin could not abide with His holiness, he made a way to redeem us. He made a way to make it right.  "What do I know of holy?" I love that song, but the answer is very little. What I do know is that the "us" matters to him. We don't deserve it, but he adores us. We are his children. We are His Beloved.

How we choose to serve is a reflection of how we feel about his love for us. Is it to our own benefit, like Judas. Or is it a life long relationship that trusts the hand that made the stars to keep count of our days, so we don't have to worry or fret, like John. 

What do I know of holy? Here is the song by Addison Road:

Today, I am grateful we can choose to serve like Judas or John