Thursday, January 30, 2014

John 4:13, 14

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13, 14 NIV)

I'm pretty sure I would have just stood gapping at Jesus had he said this to me....or I'd have given him a polite but dismissive glance, muttered to myself about the crazy guy by the well and walked off.  And then probably entertained the ladies at the evening well draw with my story about an interaction with the nutcase by the well at noon...only later would I start to figure out I missed something once again in my haste.  Of course the woman at the well didn't have a group of women she told anecdotes too in  order to entertain...but I still marvel.  She came to the well empty...and was filled with life everlasting.  Do I know when to stop and listen?  One of my biggest buzz words is being "competent" sounds so mundane....but to be able to do things well drives me.  weird I know.  But...I think it boils down to the fact that I dread the idea of being found lacking...wanting...or maybe even thirsty.  The fact is...apart from Jesus -- I am incapable of being the person he made me to be...I can't do it on my own.  And that is really hard for me...and in a strange way it makes me angry.  At least I think that's what maybe is at the core of the anger I've been wrestling with....and part of that makes me very miserly in extending grace and love to others around me.  And that absolutely rocks me.  Because I know I'm not any good at hiding these I am communicating this coldness. How dreadful...and shameful.  I am parched inside...I need Jesus to fill me...and flow out from me.  That is the truth...and in's what I would call a Sunday school's the "church" answer.  It doesn't make it any less true...but we (or more to the point -- I) can dismiss the real work or the real change required by the truth of something we glibbly say.  And I think that's where this finds me...thirsty....

Lord,  It is your work, your grace, your love, your mercy that makes us yours.  Not by my actions or in actions...and you love ugly as I feel... you love me even now.  Help me me heal.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Verses from John

I am the bread of life...I am the good shepherd....I am the way, the truth and the life....I am the vine...I am the light of the world.....

These clear statements...they must have rocked the disciples....Can you imagine hearing them for the first time...straight from Jesus's mouth?  Not only does he reveal his nature...he revealed what it would be like without him ....darkness, hunger, thirst, want, loneliness, loss and death...that is what he changed for us.  He rewrote our story.  Thank you Jesus.  Help me to seek you first, to turn to your voice and follow your path dearest Lord.  Amen.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35 NIV)

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)

Jesus shows us an example of discipline and how to find our guidance from God.  He got up early and focused on communing with God through prayer.  My prayer life doesn't mirror this example.  I look on this year as "the year where Kristi learns to be more disciplined"  It seems to be coming through as a message in so many different areas of my life.  Honestly -- and I blame this on being raised as a youngest child -- I really resent fact if you want to cite me to rebellion....lay down the rules.  And it's usually really dumb rebellion...dumb as in it does me no good.  Lack of discipline in eating and exercise has got me to an unhealthy place...and lack of discipline in my walk with God will also get me to an unhealthy place.  I know I need to start rising early.....but oh is it going to require discipline.

Lord help me as I strive to be more disciplined.  Tame my rebellion.  Help me find the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other so that I may enjoy the fruits of the discipline of knowing you better.  Amen.

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

I press on.  Life and things we want to achieve aren't easy.  Somedays it is just work...but it is for the prize we continue to press on.  I didn't want to exercise Friday.  I didn't want to exercise Saturday.  I certainly didn't want to eat right....but the prize of feeling healthy, being flexible, having the energy to do  the things I want to do are important...and I can't just "have" that.  I have to work for being disciplined.  And oh does my youngest child self want to rebel against anything like that...but the work will pay off.  

We don't have to work to earn God's love.  In fact...we can't.  But when I think about what He has done for He loves do you not respond to that love by demonstrating it to others?  I know I fail constantly...I am a work in progress...but with each "workout" I get stronger and better....and it leads me on toward the goal.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ephesians 5:15-16

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15, 16 NIV)

Living is so true that the days are evil.  I struggle with how to cope.  What movies/books/tv/music can I let the girls be exposed to...what can I let myself be exposed too...I try to go with a gut check...if it makes me feel icky...I stay away from it.  I struggle with being a "cool" mom...but not permissive...yet showing grace and mercy.  Yikes...the tightrope is so tricky...the balance so narrow.  I once heard Jesus described as living a life of perfect balance...Oh do I seek that balance.  How much do we enjoy the "fruits" of this what point do we step over and become seduced.  Lord, let me hear your voice...and follow the narrow path you'd have me walk to bring Glory to Your name.  Amen

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Psalms 90:12

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalms 90:12 NLT)

Life is how does that help us grow in wisdom? I've been pondering this for a few minutes...and Bill keeps walking in and talking to me.  This is sorta frustrating because I'm trying to do my thing...and he keeps interupting...but at the same time, I feel like I should listen to him and talk with him about what he needs to talk is short -- love the people around you.  I could snap at him because I'm trying to do my devotions...but then I miss the opportunity to show him love by listening to him and talking with him.  Am I wiser when I treasure moments with my family because I know time is fleeting?  I believe I am richer for it...maybe that also makes me wiser.  :)

Hebrews Chapter 13

So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. (Hebrews 13:6, 16, 20, 21 NLT)

"The Lord is my helper...I will have no fear." I don't believe I can say those words sincerely.  I do fear.  In a part of mind -- I think well of course you's only natural.  There is truth in that.  It is a natural part of our human condition.  A facebook friend recently posted that she was not living in fear and was praising God.  My inside cynical voice made a snorting sound of derision and then thought...well of course you don't are young, healthy and have no children.  This past November, I spent a lot of time in fear...I was fearful cancer was back.  Is that a sin?  I don't know.  I can tell you it's what I felt. As I wrestle with it, I can tell you I believe it comes down to what you do with the you let it control you or are you able to recognize it and work through the fear.  I could be paralyzed by fear...I choose not to be.  I think it's also interesting to contemplate the full quote...mere people cannot strip away my salvation, my belief in God...I do not need to fear the loss of God's love because of the actions of others....that I can say with full confidence and belief.  But do I fear.  In this world...yes.  But there will be no fear in the next world.

I love this benediction.  It is beautiful send off to a thought provoking letter.  Indeed...all glory to him forever and ever!  Amen.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ephesians 5:1

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children

Mmm...that's short enough to be an easy memory verse. :)  But how do I have my heart memorize it.  Follow God's example?  This is sort of a cheat verse in my opinion because you need the rest of the thought and phrase...but if I had to fill in what I think God's example's loving us enough to give up everything. there much more to add to it?

Hebrews Chapter 12

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire. (Hebrews 12:14, 28, 29 NLT)

Much of Chapter 12 is quotable...some we may even know just from familiarity...Now run the race...

And there is much about the awesomeness of God...frankly the scary fierceness of Him that we don't like to focus on...the angry vengeful God that is set up as a strawman to attack for being cold and judgemental.  Frankly, it's amazing to me that God isn't angry all the time.  The single thing that helped me begin to get the tiniest bit of understanding of God's love is my love for my daughters.  It is the model of parental love that makes the reality and privilege of God's love for us the most special...I feel the ache (and really my girls are only just now entering the teen years) of a parent who wants the world for their child...can see the easy path...and watches as their child choses the rocky you hold your breath and want to wrap them in bubble wrap -- but need to let them get brusied and scraped up to grow.  And I know the ache when your child yells and rants at you or behaves poorly and you are so angry...yet love them so fiercely still....and it's that love that makes you ache.  The relationship with my girls has given me just the smallest glimpse of the Glory of amazing...knowing that it is just shadows we see...the depth and breadth of love that we are wrapped all consuming that love is.  How amazing.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 11

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. 

That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 

By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. (Hebrews 11:1, 6, 16, 33-35, 39, 40 NLT)

In many ways I felt like I could highlight this whole chapter...the stories of faith...the encouragement to faith...what some gave up for faith...when you's just crazy...I'm sure that's what they were called...more than once I'm sure.  I think of Noah...building that ark wasn't a short proposition...Abraham...leaving everything and everyone he knew...not to mention...being willing to kill his son because God told him too.  How do you not hear those do you not believe them?  That is what faith looks like....We need to have faith that God has it all in his hand and that we will have our hopes and dreams fulfilled when we reach heaven.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 10

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. 

For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. 

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:10, 14, 22-25, 36 NLT)

These are such important verses...cutting to the heart of gift God has given us, what it means to us and how we then need to live our lives to honor the gift.

Hebrews Chapter 9

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 

so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:14, 28 NLT)

Our sins are gone.  That is really too much for me to grapple with at can my failure tomorrow already be forgotten?  What if I forget to ask?  What if...and not always -- what if but what happens when I do something sinful.  I don't necessarily desire to do sinful things...but I also don't always desire not to....and then I'm left with...why am I such a mess.  Why can't I just accept this gift...and really the question becomes...why can't I just accept that Jesus loves me that much.  I believe the Bible.  I do...but's hard to feel it.

Lord, help my me to remember you are not a miser with your love and mercy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 8

But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. 

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord : I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. (Hebrews 8:6, 10, 11 NLT)

I love love love the last verses...For everyone will know me already...For some reason, that just gives me such a sense of peace.  I think it has to be about after this earthly world is through...the struggle will be over and we will be able to be face to face with our God spending our time doing what we were meant for...praising Him because of His glorious love for us.  

I also love that we have Jesus as our negotiator.  How's this for a tangent...Jesus as an older brother negotiating with Mary and Joseph on behalf of his younger siblings...for some reason that just tickles me. you wonder what it would have been like to have Jesus for a big brother?  Would you be annoyed with the perfect sibling?  Would his love overcome those feelings of never measuring up? Interesting...but really sorta pointless....and yet...maybe I watch too many silly soap operas.  Somehow, I think for his sisters he'd be an ideal big protective brother...someone to count on.  It's who he is for us.

Hebrews Chapter 7

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 

but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’” Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. 

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. (Hebrews 7:19, 21, 22, 25 NLT)

As I read through Hebrews, the continuous theme that stands out to Jesus's sacrifice for us so that we can be close to God.  

I think as I struggle with the idea of balancing grace and's a good start for me to focus on the truth that the law never made anything perfect...we can never follow the rules well enough to please God...we are not that pure because of speck of darkness is too much for God.  We are not perfect.

This afternoon, I was struck by a story Bess was telling me about a boy in her class...she was frustrated and disdainful of his behavoir...he was prown to crying when things didn't go his way or there were problems with an assignment...he was told to leave the class room today because he was frustrated with the assignment and having to do the work in a certain way...  My heart broke.  I am still deeply hurting for this young boy.  And while I didn't scold Bess, I was somewhat disappointed in her response.  I totally understand her frustration.  Her belief was that he was just spoiled by his parents and used to getting his own way.  And in her shoes, I probably would have felt the same way.  But as an adult, I see so much more...and so I explained to Bess that clearly this boy had problems far beyond what she could see or understand...that he probably didn't have many kids be kind to him...that for whatever reason he struggled....and that we needed to appreciate the gifts we have and to show grace and mercy and compassion...and even love.  I don't know how this always looks...because I fail regularly to remember that it is the ability to love that distinguishes us from the rest of humanity...and we never know what a small gesture that is kind can do to make all the difference for those around us.  Lord, let me see...let me show your mercy and grace...let me love.  Amen.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 6

--and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.

 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. (Hebrews 6:6, 10, 18 NLT)

Verse 6 makes my heart ache.  I can't even begin to imagine the pain it causes God -- to have someone knowingly reject Him...the thought of being the one to put the nails in...overwhelming.

The other verses give such hope...we have a refuge, we can have confidence...we have hope. Amen

Hebrews Chapter 5

And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. 

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. (Hebrews 5:2, 8, 11 NLT) first off...the three verses I chose today mainly because I could see myself in them.  And frankly the writing of verse 11 cracked me up.  probably wasn't meant that way...but in context of the chapter it just oozed frustration...there is so much I could tell you but you are too stupid to understand.  A lot of truth in it probably -- and frankly I even see myself on the receiving end of this verse much of the time...I'm can be dullard and not listen...I can be easily distracted (sorta like Doug in the movie "Up" -- Squirrel) and if I could just still my heart and mind, I could learn so much more.  Verse 2 reminds me that my heart needs to soften...that I forget my weakness when dealing with others...or more to the point, I deal with others out of my weakness instead of relying on the strength of God....letting Him love through me.  So much work to be done and that's just with me.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 4

For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. (Hebrews 4:3 NLT)

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 4:12, 13 NLT)

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:15, 16 NLT)

This chapter has such an amazing starts with such a stern warning.  It clearly supports the -- only one way to God -- verses found elsewhere in the Bible.  I've heard people describe this "ultimatum" as unloving...but it's so clear.  And in context of all that God has done for us...our part is so small.  He's made it about as easy as can be made...but it is still up to us.

The description of the word of God is so beautiful and poetic...and sharp....and then the sobering knowledge that God knows everything.  That can be terrifying or freeing...and sometimes it's both.  :)

I love the invitation in the later part of the chapter...So let us come boldy...and what promise awaits, mercy and grace for when we need it most.  I know I need all those things.

Hebrews Chapter 3

You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (Hebrews 3:13, 14 NLT)

What simple elegant statements...and what an amazing promise.  Love God, open your heart, believe and accept Jesus.  Trust God.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 2

God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (Hebrews 2:10 NLT)

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Hebrews 2:14, 15 NLT)

Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. (Hebrews 2:17, 18 NLT)

Jesus became like save understand what we be mortal.  Amazing...He loves us that much...I'm not sure there is a much better response than "Thank You" and then for us to "earn it" by physically loving those around being his hands and feet.

Hebrews Chapter 1

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3 NLT)

There are several books of the Bible I have not read....and not that even one reading is sufficient. But I decided (with some prompting) that I would start the year with the book of Hebrews.  I pulled the verse above because I loved the imagery and language of the verse...the Son RADIATES God's own GLORY...expresses the very character....he cleansed us from our of honor...majestic God in heaven.   It just sings to me in it's language.  It really stood out in what was clearly the beginning of a letter to the Jewish people about the Son of God.  

Without having done any "pre-study" about what Hebrews is about the opening chapter addresses the issue of Jesus being God with God, but as a separate being and very much more than an angel.  I hadn't realized this had been one of the issues among the Jews at the time.  But I suppose it's not too surprising that among a people that may be tempted to miss the messianic nature of Christ to dismiss the stories as a visit from an angel and not God himself in the person of Jesus.

There is so much I don't know and understand...but God I desire to know more of you.  Amen.