Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Psalms 16:11

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

This verse actually boggles my mind.  living forever...I can't comprehend it.  What it will be like to be in God's presence -- forever...finally fulfilling our purpose...Peace, Joy, Love....The best my mind can come up with is an image of bright sunshine...warm and enveloping....and even that won't compare.  What an amazing gift...Thank you Lord.

Nehemiah 8:10

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

The joy of The Lord is my strength...I hear the song in my head so clearly.  It's truth can get lost much easier it is to face a challenge -- or even just the day -- if our attitude is positive...when we delight in The Lord...we have all kinds of strength...we will run and not grow weary...we will mount up on wings like eagles...we can climb every mountain (yes I shifted from the Bible to Broadway)

But it is so very true!  Celebrate and share...share joy.  :)  

Monday, December 16, 2013

1 John 1:4-7

We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

I think these are some of the most powerful verses in the Bible.  They certainly need to be heard over and over and over again...especially in the church today.  We've fallen prey to a clever trick...getting caught on the tiny things and forgetting what is the most important message of God...He loves us, He wants a relationship with us, He wants us who know Him and to share Him with those who don't know His love so they can have a relationship with Him.  But we've focused on what separates us from others...usually putting ourselves above those different then us....and then totally forgetting that we are to show -- not our love (which is so weak) but God's love...which is bigger than we can begin to know.

A new favorite song from Mandisa starts with these lyrics...."This is not another song about all that we've done wrong, we already know.  It's time for us to celebrate the freedom of letting go.  Let's take some time to think about our blessing...Joy Unspeakable"   There are other lyrics...and I'm going from memory so I might be a little bit off...but you get it. 

I know I fail God on a daily basis....but His love never fails...Joy Unspeakable. Amen.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

John 12:35, 36

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

The devotional content on the YouVersion app today is wonderful.  Jesus is telling the disciples that his physical time with them is coming to close.  I can't even begin to comprehend that have been physically present when God became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.  I'm afriad that I would have been pretty thick headed and as confused as the disciples at times.  It's so easy to look back on someone else's experiences and think you would have acted differently forgetting you have the benefit of seeing the "whole" picture.  I do wonder what it would have been like to feel that amazing love in that physical see His example in all the little details, the stories that didn't make the Bible.  One of the ladies at church last week shared that she had learned that Jesus had 4 brothers and 2 sisters...this was big revelation for her (I didn't know the numbers either...just knew that there were brothers and sisters) and that it changed how she viewed the Christmas season.  For me, it makes the fact that He was sinless...even with siblings... more of a miracle.   :)  

So this description of Jesus as the light is really something...we hear it often but sometimes the comparison fails to impress...I think about the time I was touring a cave...and to demonstrate what it would be like to be lost in a cave...they turn off the lights.  I was amazed by the true darkness...I could see nothing...only black.  Terrifying.  That is life without the light of Jesus...  He loved us so much that He gave himself for we wouldn't have to face that place of cold and isolation...the very pit of despair.  What an amazing gift of hope and love.  Thank you Jesus...Indeed...thank you.

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Great verse!  What wonderful promises....God is with me.  He is the mighty warrior who saves -- girl, way better than any knight in shining armour! He takes delight in me!  Old Latin says delight means charm...God is charmed by me!  He loves me so much he won't criticize or express disapproval of me or my behavior...he's loves me so much it makes him want to sing.

Um...if you are ever in a low place...this is the verse to remind you how precious each of us are to God.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Psalm 119: 105-106

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.

Mmmm...Love the first verse.  I think of my new path that Bill built for me from the that it's easier for him to shovel...but also it's a more level easy to walk path.  We've discovered that if we leave the garage light on it shines brightly on the path and makes it even easier to navigate.  The bible provides us the light for us to follow God's laws more easily. 

The second verse reminds me of yesterday's lightly do we treat the word of God and his commandments.  I answer for myself...I know I haven't been as faithful as I should.  The amazing thing is that God doesn't stand over us like a angry, scolding parent shaking his finger...he wraps us up in his arms and tells us "Welcome child....come walk with me..."  True love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mark 12:28,30

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Another wonderful challenge.  If you are following on You Version, the devotion from Good Morning Girls talks about being able to tell where our heart lays but how our time and treasure are spent.  This is not a new revelation...I've heard this before...but it is always a good check...and with this as the most important commandment...

Another thought pops into my head too...the word commandment and command.  We use it a little as parents, animal trainers...but I think it's strongest and most familiar use (not including Church) is in context of the military.  If you were a member of the military -- to disobey a command has serious consequences.  And do we treat the commands of God.  Wow....this thought I'm going to have to chew on for a while.  God wants us to have a "familiar" relationship with him...but not so familiar at to disregard what He is teaching us.... me respect and follow your commands and your example of love.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

1 John 4:7,8

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Okay…so this week's theme is love.  And oh my…it is amazing to me how God weaves messages together when we really need to hear them.  :)  Last week, I really needed to remember about Hope….(and understand…it's not like my "hope" issue is done -- but I've learned new things now…so "hopefully" I've taken a step forward.)  Yesterday's message at church was about why Jesus came in the flesh and moved into the neighborhood…and one of the reasons was love (of course)…but Pastor Kirby included the caveat that if we are not loving one another we cannot claim that we know the love of God.  Whoop…there it is.  And it cuts me right to the bone.  Sometimes my love for others looks more like Ebenezer Scrooge than Jesus…ouch.  Which is because I'm relying on me…and me doesn't cut it.  I need Jesus to do this for me….through me…Yes, Lord.  I surrender.  Amen.

Good Morning Girls

Friday, December 6, 2013

Romans 15:12-13

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I love the benediction of Verse 13...The God of HOPE, that we may overflow with HOPE.  We are to be filled with all joy and peace.  What am I missing most in my life lately?  Hope, joy and peace.  Not just because things haven't been a rose garden...but because I forgot to focus my attention on God.  And that is the source of true Hope, Joy and Peace.  The world's version of these things just leave us wanting....they are only dark images of what God has promised to us.  But it is up to us.  Not only does He give us true Hope, Joy and Peace, He gives us true freedom.  It is our choice to make...and even when we make the choice to accept His gift of salvation, we still have our free choice to focus on His plan and make the most of the gift or to not.  He still welcomes and loves us.  However, we are far better off exploring and learning about His gift and love than to just let it sit in a box unused and under appreciated.  Without being's sorta like my cell phone.  I can use it just as a phone...and that's good....but if I take time to study and learn, there is so much more that I can do with the phone....if I don''s me that missing out....I still get the main use of the phone....but there's so much more.  And the cell phone example is at best a weak and pale comparison to the immense present of God in our life.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Isaiah 60:19,20

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.  Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.

This is such beautiful imagery and language.  What catches my attention is the very last statement…"your days of sorrow will end."  If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I've been struggling and feeling really parched.  So that would be the first reason that promise jumps out at me.  But then as I read it again and again, I really find it's inclusion in this poetic passage about futures compelling.  I think about the times in the Bible (a few I can recall without aid) about eternity and God wiping away all our tears…so I read that to affirm there are going to be seasons of life that just aren't easy…and then I'm struck by wondering how the "prosperity gospel" folks work around this.  The other idea that grabs me is the contrast of God as being light -- with no darkness.  This is definitely a passage about hope…our hope that is to come.  Yes Lord, help me hold on during the dry seasons clinging and trusting in your promise of hope filled with light.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jeremiah 33:14, 15

“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. “ ‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

"In those days and at that time..."  It is God's timing.  Somewhere in the bible there is verse that calls it his perfect timing...define perfect.  Guess what...not my definition.  We want God to be like a slot machine...put our request in, pull the lever, and see three cherries come up...PAY OUT.  And somehow, God just shakes his head and loves us anyway...and says.."wait child...I know what I am doing and it's not your way or your is mine."  And when put into perspective, know this is the guy who created this whole universe, knows the number of stars in the sky, grains of sand on the beach and knows the hairs on our head (all x billion of us), it makes sense that he'd know when, where and why...  But (yep big butt) in our silly rebellion we still think we know best.  You know when you flick a piece of dirt off yourself...I'm am constantly amazed that God stays mindful of us in all our silliness and doesn't just flick us away.  The advent season is about hope...for me this year it is shaping up to be about being humble...and maybe starting to appreciate an inkling of God's love for me...

Monday, December 2, 2013

John 1:9-12

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

The good news in this passage is definately the last sentence.  I wonder at times as a human how Christ felt about the rejection he experienced...And as that thought crossed my mind I realized that not only did he have to experience that rejection...he knew even before he left all the glory of heaven what was going to happen...the rejection, the crucifiction....and yet he came.  What really floors me...if I believe what we are told is true...he made that decision knowing me.  Kristi.  Not just a group of creatures that would occupy this space called earth...but me.  How is it even possible?  He knew what he was giving up...and he did it because he loved me.  When we say we worship a great God...those words are barely adequate.  And yet, those inadequate words are sweet praise to Him who was before

Sunday, December 1, 2013

John 1:1-4

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

This is the NIV version.  Typically I like the NLT...but these are the verses the way I know them by I went with tradition.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  That sentence staggers me.  It really is almost more than I can even begin to understand.  He has always been, will always be, is complete....and yet...he wanted to love even more...and that took the form of us.  If that doesn't humble you...bring you to your knees or cause you to leap with joy....then I got nothing.  He is life and light.  And he loves and knows each of us.  He is hope fulfilled.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

One of my all time favorite Christmas hymns.  There are other arrangements I like better...but I really love the images with this video.  :)  Enjoy

2 Corinthians 4:18-19

For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  

So...I threw a temper tantrum.  A pretty good size one too.  Guess didn't get me anywhere. And here's what I really hate...teachable moments that come in the middle of a snit.  Really?  Sometimes I think God's sense of humor isn't all that funny.  In retrospect it kinda is...but again...Really?  Sigh.  I think this season for me has been about teaching me that the one person whose approval I should seek is God's.  And that the one person I can count on to not let me down is God.  Human's fail.  It's just the plain truth.  Too often I spend my heart time seeking human approval and human support.  Don't get me wrong.  I think being able to trust and care for others is important...and God given.  We are to live in a loving supporting community....but anytime we put seeking an earthly thing (be it support, love, worship, desire, approval) ahead of seeking those things from our's gonna be a problem.

Is the hurt and betrayal I was feeling real? Yep.  Were they from actions of other humans...Yep.  Did I need to surrender them?  Yep...big time.  Did I succeed?  I'm not sure -- we'll see next time this button get's pushed.'s the total truth...I didn't make it through without some sinning and hurting of others by myself. That admission is a little hard to take when I'm wanting to get all uppity on my self righteous moral high ground.  Ugh.  I forgot to focus on the things we cannot see...I forgot that these present troubles -- while real -- are small and won't last very long.  I forgot that my King forgave my way greater sins...because He loves me.  But He doesn't just love me...He loves each of us...where we are...even in the middle of ugly.  I believe this with all my heart and it overwhelms and humbles me.  I know He wants to protect and provide for each of us.  I sometimes hear that and think that it means that I have to always open myself up in ways that can lead me to be hurt by other humans.  I don't think that is what it means...but I'm still wrestling with it.  I'm wresting with how I can protect myself from those who don't have my best intentions at heart and still be faithful to God.  A counselor once told me it was "boundaries" that I had trouble setting.  I think that is still true. Somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that setting boundaries was against God's will.  I don't think that is true.  I think it may be a "false" teaching....but I don't know.  See, once upon a time, I had a person in my life who was extremely clever at perverting God's word to their own a game of win-lose...and guess who was on the losing  Maybe that is one of the tests we have to use...if there is a winner and a loser...maybe its best to walk away.  Clearly this is not something I can wrap up in a neat bow...its still a path I'm still walking and weeding....and it amazes me how deep and long some weeds'roots are and how they still can reach out and twist and mislead.  Well, I guess that's why it's important to spend time with the actual author and perfector of our faith.  All this from a temper tantrum.  Yep.  Oh Lord, please walk with me and teach me your ways.