Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Glow

Exodus 34:29-35 shares a beautiful story.  The story is that of Moses’ interactions with God.  When Moses descended from the mountain of God with the Ten Commandments, his face was glowing.  In fact, it was glowing to the extent that the people were scared of him!  So, he covered his face with a veil. 

Some days I wonder if there is any indication of my being in the presence of God.  I want there to be!  I want other believers to look at me and see the tell-tale signs that I have been with Jesus – much like mothers can look at a woman and just know that she has that glow of pregnancy (sometimes before the mother-to-be even knows herself!).  I want non-believers to look at me and see that there’s just something strange and different about me.  Even if it’s annoyingly so! 

But, I long for something else, too.  I long to be so caught up in my interactions with Jesus that I don’t realize there’s visible evidence of that interaction.  Moses had no idea his face was glowing until the people were scared of him.  I want to be focused on Jesus, not on how I look to others. 

Even as I am typing this, the joy and excitement are welling up inside me.  I am ready to be in His presence all day.  Oh, Lord Jesus, please teach me how to truly abide in You!  This is where I so incredibly long to be!  Please may I learn to not falter as the day wears on!  Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You desire my company! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Motivated by Him

It seems I am pressed on all sides with the critical and vital importance of making my words and actions truly be relevant.  This morning I read Romans 14 and finished a chapter in Knowing God about the justice of God.

Essentially, the question before me today is motive.  Much of what I do is right and obedient to God, but do I do it because I desire to honor God or because it is what I want to do?  Even then, however, a great deal of what I do has nothing to do with God’s will.  How it has crushed my heart this morning to realize how many things I do without even once considering my Savior and His desires, will, or guidance! 

This morning my heart is exploding with the desire to make everything about Him.  Everything from the most mundane daily chores to the most obvious acts of service.  Oh, how much of a mindset change I need in order to become that type of person!  Oh, how much growth needs to occur!  But, it will never happen if I do not start.  So, today I am seeking the Lord to show me how to begin.  How to take this ordinary day and turn it into a day lived to intentionally honor Him. 

The joy of that thought is as explosive as the desire to live that way!  Just to think of walking that intimately with Him is beautiful!  And, I want to do it!  I hunger and ache to do it!  Lord, teach me today!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Put on Christ

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.  Romans 13:14 (NASB)

Whenever I think of putting something on, I think of how visible it is.  The biggest example is clothing.  So much can be discerned from our clothing.  Personality.  Attitude about materialism.  Priorities.  And, even more immediate things such as our plans for today or our current emotional condition.

This verse in Romans talks about putting on Christ.  Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ should be as visible of a display as putting on my clothes each day.  When I live my daily life without Him visible in all I say and do, then I am not putting on Christ.  I am instead making provision for the flesh.  I am showing my priorities clearly – namely, me.  I am showing my attitude.  I am showing that my plans for the day are to please myself and the desires of my flesh, not to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

This morning I put on a Sunday dress.  Soon I’ll be adding dress shoes, make-up, and an appropriate hairstyle.  If a stranger were to look at my family about an hour from now, it would be obvious that we were headed to church.  I am challenged to make putting on Christ that obvious.  Day in and day out.  I want to show that I am making no provision for the flesh, but only for the reflection of Jesus in all I do. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bold Communion

There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.  Exodus 25:22

The Holy of Holies had to have been a fascinating place to consider.  I think of the things that I have heard about but never seen, and I feel that sense of mystery and awe that comes with the unknown.  I can only imagine how the Israelites must have felt about the Holy of Holies.  A place where God Himself met with His people.  What a concept!

So few after Moses were truly able to enter the place where God met His people.  It was a greatly limited place.  A place of great fear and trembling.  A place where God’s people could only go after much cleansing.

But Jesus’ sacrifice changed that.  He opened the presence of God to me!  I do not have to journey to the temple and walk through to the Holy of Holies – nor do I have to stand outside while the high priest intercedes on behalf of an entire nation.  I can meet God right here where I sit in my living room! 

Oh, how I take that for granted!  So often, I hold back from prayer as if it were a forbidden room.  I don’t open my heart and truly commune with God.  Oh, how I snub the sacrifice of Christ simply by the fact that I do not truly pray!

My challenge and heart’s desire is to truly learn how to pray!  Heb 4:16 expresses our freedom to come boldly to the mercy seat – oh, may I be bold!  Oh, may I truly dive in to the full privilege of entering the presence of the most holy God!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Rom 12:1-2 (NASB)

We all want to know what God’s will is, but are we really willing to live lives that prove His will?  That means literally surrendering all rights to ourselves. 

Meanwhile, there’s the actual description of God’s will.  It is “good and acceptable and perfect.”  But, in whose estimation?  That’s where we frequently get caught.  It is not “good and acceptable and perfect” according to my estimation, but according to God’s.  That makes an incredible difference. 

It presents quite the challenge to me.  First, to open myself to be searched, to see how I am refusing to surrender myself as a living sacrifice.  I know the ways are many, but it’s so much easier to just glide through my day without truly surrendering to that examination.  Secondly, to surrender my concept of what is good, acceptable, and perfect.  To identify only with His estimation of those qualities. 

I know I am not going to like what I see as I open myself up for the digging.  But, it’s the only way I can truly become a living sacrifice who proves the will of God through my daily life.  And that’s honestly where I want to be.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Even so, I will rejoice.

I’ve been moving so slowly through Romans.  It has been coming alive in my heart as never before.  It’s like awakening to something that has been there all along but has just never registered in my heart and mind before. 

This morning I finished Romans 11 after being here for a few Edays.  When I arrived at verse 33, my heart was right with Paul.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Rom 11:33 NASB)

Wow.  After what I had just read – and the thoughts stirred up within me from it all (which I might share someday soon if I can get them together) – this perfectly expressed my heart.  It is all to incredible for me to truly grasp!    Sometimes it all seems so conflicting.  How could a God of love do that.  And yet, how could God love me that much?!

I suppose the challenge of my heart for today comes down to this – I must remember to rejoice in it all.  Even when it is mind-blowing.  Even when I just can’t wrap my mind around the extremes of who He is.  Even so, verse 33 must flow from my heart in great exultation and praise. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Attitude Check

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among who you appear as lights in the world…  Phil 2:14-15

I’ve done a lot of grumbling lately.  About family.  About church.  About the state of our country, our world.  Most of it is behind closed doors, but it still has an effect.  It affects my attitude, and therefore keeps me from appearing as a light in this world. 

I am a reflection of something.  If I grumble and complain I am a reflection of irritability.  If I rejoice in all things, I am a reflection of Christ. 

There is no doubt that there are things in my family, my church, and my world that are just not right.  But, grumbling about them accomplishes nothing.  Today I just need an attitude check – a reminder of my responsibility to pray continually with thanksgiving and to rejoice in the Lord.  I desire to appear as a light in this world – will I do what is required to accomplish that goal? 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sacrifice & Surrender

What I am willing to surrender for the sake of obedience to Christ?  I honestly have no idea what is soon to be asked of me.  All I do know is that as I read in both Romans and Exodus this morning, I knew I was being called to willingness.  Primarily to a willingness to make changes and sacrifices if that is what obedience requires. 

I don’t sacrifice well, to be honest.  Whether it be time, will, possessions, family, rights, beliefs – whatever it may be.  If I have any inclination that it belongs to me, I like to cling to it.  I am hesitant to surrender.  I am reluctant to release. 

And that attitude must go!

There have been times in my life when my reluctance to release has resulted in God ripping the very thing to which I cling from my tight grasp.  I can testify that when I require God to grow me in that way, it is infinitely more painful than any surrender or sacrifice.  Upon reflection, I inevitably regret not releasing my grip willingly.

I have no idea what God will be calling me to surrender.  There is no doubt that the command is forthcoming.  Not because I am feeling challenged today, but by the simple fact that I still have much to learn and far to grow.  Learning and growth are not possible without at least some measure of surrender – usually a great measure.

My challenge, therefore, is to cultivate an attitude of willingness.  To be prepared to surrender and sacrifice whatever He requires of me.  Regardless of the specific instruction, the act is one of the will.  Here and now I can be willing.  Here and now I can surrender my will. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is it Seen?

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:36-39

My most recent readings in Packer’s Knowing God have really challenged and broadened my perspective on the love of God.  Some of Packer’s thoughts reinforce, solidify, and clarify what has been growing in my own heart and mind.  Others, however, are very novel to me, driving me to want to study them more. 

But, this morning’s reading was nothing novel or fantastic to my mind.  It was simply challenging.  At the closing of a very powerful chapter (which I have been reading for quite some time) on the love of God, Packer asks this question, “Could an observer learn from the quality and degree of love that I show to others – my wife? my husband? my family? my neighbors? people at church? people at work? – anything at all about the greatness of God’s love to me? 

Wow.  I don’t think I can answer that question positively.  I cannot see how my actions toward others could ever truly express even one tiny morsel of the magnitude of God’s love for me.  His love for me made me an adopted heir to His eternal kingdom through the sacrifice of His one and only natural Son.  How can I begin to express His love for me through my actions toward others when my actions are so immersed in selfishness?

It is my prayer that by some miracle an observer could catch a glimpse of the love of God through something I do.  And, it is my challenge that my actions become more greatly reflective of God’s love each and every day that I live. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rejoice and Persevere

Even as I have been silent on this blog, my heart and mind have not been silent.  They have been working quite strenuously, in fact, to process what I have been learning and reading.  But, I can’t really put any of what I’ve learned into words.  And that bothers me. 

Sometimes when I work and work but cannot really show anything for my efforts, I get discouraged.  I begin to slack and become lazy.  It shows in my spiritual life, my interactions with the kids, the maintenance of my home, my diligence to fulfill obligations – essentially in every aspect of my life.

This morning as I was praying, I asked the Lord to remind my heart how to keep working – how to not become discouraged through this time of not being able to really put my thoughts into words.  One word came to mind.


I’ve heard that word so many times!  I know the power of rejoicing!  I know the freedom that comes from it!  Why do I stray from it so frequently?

Today I read Romans 8:18-25.  Much is swirling through my mind related to this passage, but the last verse seemed so relevant to my prayers this morning.  Verse 25 says this, “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

I am not working toward enough understanding to write, whether it be in my private journal or on a blog.  I am not working to maintain a clean home.  I am not even working to educate my children or effectively participate in the ministry of our church.  Instead, I am working toward an eternal hope – something I cannot see or put into words.  But, something that should fill my heart with exceeding great joy and hope when I ponder upon it. 

So, even when I have nothing in the here and now to show for my work, I will rejoice.  I will persevere.  I will hope.  And even as I think of it, my soul is lifting and I am beginning to anxiously desire to get going with this day – and rejoice.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Continuing Story

As I ponder the beauty of this morning, so many things are flooding through my mind.  The joy!  The power!  The love!  Oh, He is risen!  Reading Romans with the beauty of Easter fresh on my heart is powerful indeed. 

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

How can my heart not just explode at the very thought of it?!

What has also been on my mind, though, is the disciples.  They spent the whole weekend in the most confusing, horrific, grief-filled, challenging upheaval imaginable.  No, it was beyond imagination.  No wonder they had trouble wrapping their minds around the fulfillment of what Jesus had been telling them!  No wonder they had a hard time accepting Jesus standing before them!

The thing that tugs at my heart with the greatest power is the continuation of the story.  In Luke 24:47-49 we see a tiny glimpse of what Jesus said and taught in His last days on earth.  Essentially, He told them that because of His suffering the world would have forgiveness.  But, there’s more!  Because of their presence through it all – because they suffered through it, too – they would be the vessels by which the news of that forgiveness would begin to spread through all the earth.

The very foundation of their lives changed.  Jesus’ resurrection took them far beyond the lives they had lived before.  These men and women are truly the picture of the old man passing away and the new man coming.

In the words of a Veggie Tales character, “The Hope of Easter changes everything!”  Thanks to that Hope, I was forgiven about this time of year 24 years ago, but the transformation and growth in my life can’t stop there.  I am still not what I need to be to help spread the story of forgiveness to the ends of the earth.  How challenged I am to surrender everything I am in order to be His vessel.  To cling to nothing but the resurrected Lord.  To continue the work of the disciples to proclaim these things to all mankind. 

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  May the world hear that truth through me!