Thursday, January 31, 2013

The art of being still

"Do not be afraid. stand firm
and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
The Lord will fight for you;
you need only to be still." Exodus 14:13-14

My first instinct is to fight, struggle, exert some, any kind of effort. But God asks us to be still. That's different from sitting back and relaxing or taking a break. When I read" be still" I tend to think "rest". But the act of being still is not so simple.

Have you ever tried to be still? Consider yoga poses for a moment. There are some that seem to be so simple, until you actually try them. Then you become aware of how much effort and determination each pose demands. Every muscle works hard against the force of gravity. You are suddenly and excruciatingly aware that unidentified muscles in your body are prone to spontaneous flinching. Your body trembles from the sheer effort and every muscle screams for release.

Be still.

It takes great spiritual muscle to be still at the beginning of each new year. My soul stirs and my mind races.  Analyzing and reflecting on the past year I want to jump into action in the new. I'm anxious to tackle new ventures and projects.  I'm eager to start a new effort to self improve in some area of my life, family, ministry, or finances.  And yet, I know that is precisely when I need to stop, enter into a time of prayer and fasting, turn to God and ask for His direction for the year.

Be still.

He's calling me to a higher plan. Taming my stubborn, directionless will and strengthening every inch of my soul. He asks me to focus and turn inward, and allow Him to do the needed adjustments. If I would plant myself deep and stretch myself, He promises to fortify me and strengthen all that is weakness in me.

Be still, He says, don't move until the noise dissolves, and the world melts away. Breathe deep, clear your life and mind of all the clutter and focus only on Me. And finally firm and steady, His voice is clear and comforting, peace and confidence.

Be still my soul! Be still heart! He is working out your rescue! He is drawing you near. He is fortifying you whole: body, mind and soul.

My Provider. My Protector. My Guide. He goes out before me. He stands guard behind me.

Be still my soul! Listen. He beckons, "Come, talk with me" and my heart replies, "Lord, here I am." (Ps 27:8)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Phillipians 2: 6-11
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
May you be blessed with Hope and Peace as we stop
to celebrate the Birth of Jesus this Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A WONDERful time of the year

One of my favorite authors, Margaret Feinberg [], has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God  (releasing Christmas Day)a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:

·         Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
·         Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days
·         Develop a renewed passion for God
·         Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
·         Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved

To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video, here.                    
"Peel back the curtain. Reveal your holiness. Transform us forever."

God works in Wonder.  It's His modus operandi.  His ways and His hand in our lives will leave us awestruck, if we take the a moment to notice.  

I most closely experience the wonder of God whenever I have the opportunity to hold a baby fresh from heaven.  I am content to just gaze on the tiny face, listen to each new breath, and take in the distinct sweet smell of a newborn baby.   

Like a moth to a flame we can’t help but gather at the endearing coo of a baby to ooh and ahh over the tiny creation!

When He sent us the gift of salvation, I think He caught us all off guard by sending His son in the form of a precious baby boy.  I don't know any of us would have anticipated that he would reveal himself so tenderly.

So fragile. 
So small. 
So intimate.
So holy.

Who could resist?  Did this King really just come to us so helpless and vulnerable?  Did the great I AM truly humble Himself so exceptionally? Did He really just give us the power of life in a bundle so tiny we could literally hold it in our hands? 

We were drawn in.

So great is His love for us, He trusts us to our own free will to crush or cherish this gift.  He is literally ours, unveiled and laid bare to accept or reject.  This precious gift of unabashed love breaks past the barrier of our sin and resulting distrust, to the depth of our hearts where truth is re-awakened. 

We are transformed. 
All is made new. 
We can start again. 
No condemnation.
Just love. 

For if He would humble himself and enter into our humanity, then we must be worth more than we have let ourselves imagine.  He believes in us.

We drop our defenses and He sets us free.  The debt is paid.   Now without fear or anxiety, we can emerge from our shame, bitterness and resentment to the fresh air of forgiveness. 

Oh how he loves us!  Oh how we love Him in return!

Christmas is the season for wonder.  It's why we look forward to it each year.  I wouldn't mind a little more wonder every day of the year. Start your journey of wonder with this new book. 
Follow Margaret’s inspirational posts on Twitter,  Facebook , or her blog. You can learn more about this great book by visiting where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff.  I ordered my own copy for only $7.57 on Amazon!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Forgotten gift

Busy, busy, busy is what we mumble and grumble at this time of the year.  Ask anyone how they are doing and they'll tell you they are over-extended, over- scheduled and over-worked.  It's as if it would be shameful to admit anything less. 

We are sufficiently busy!

Most of those I talk to are geniunely stressed, tired and near the point of burn out.  In fact, I include myself in that count!  More times than not I find myself complaining about the perpetual demands of the holiday season.

What fuels our busy-ness anyway? 

Could what I perceive to be self-sacrifice really be self-serving, self-indulgence?

If the first words from my mouth are "listen to what I've done, what I've sacrificed, how I suffer" am I kind of showing up at the greatest birthday party of the year, and stealing all the thunder? Seeking gifts of  sympathy, apathy, or praise for myself?

Protesting about now?

Everything I do is for somone else!
I run.
I cook.
I bake.
I shop.
I decorate for days and days.
I'm exhausted!

Hmm.  See the trend?

Give God the glory.

The holiday, or holy days, season. The reason for the season: Jesus, right? 

So often we fail to actually take time out to reflect on the source of this season. Do we honestly take the days of advent to savor the beauty and wonder of the big event?

If you do, I commend you!  Lead the way!  If not, it's time for a serious self-check.

The wonder of this season lies in the quiet moments.  The first snowfall, morning devotions next to a warm fire, cuddling with sleepy eyed pajama clad children enthralled with the wonders of Luke 2, kneeling at the altar with the one's you love on Christmas eve. 

Stop and consider the miracle of a God who loved you so much that he descended from His throne, so that today instead of lives of worries, troubles, and hectic anxiety we could live our lives filled with hope, love, joy, peace and rest.

Mal 3:16: 
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse
...test me,
and I will pour out for you a blessing
until it overflows.

The magi brought Christ gifts upon His arrival.  What gift are you preparing for the Savior this advent?  What are you willing to sacrifice for Him?  An act of kindness or service?  Are you willing to commit yourself to His work?  Is there something in your life that you need to lay at His feet?

"Small resolutions,
over time,
can lead to huge revolutions
affecting not only our lives,
but also the lives of those around us."
-Dr. Tim Gray

Resolutions are usually reserved for the New Year, but why not make a resolution this Christmas season.  Let's look inward and consider what tiny offerings we can bring before Christ this Christmas.

Don't forget to add Christ to your gift list this year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Heavenly Peace

My heart has been begging my mind to slow down and focus on the intent of this Christmas season:  Advent, a time of reflection, introspection, quiet and rest.

But it wasn't until Friday, that all the little things that seemed so urgent, were abruptly placed into perspective. 

Shop for one more holiday trinket, or pause for a mommy-daughter lunch?  Get on top of my year-end reporting, or actually get home in time for dinner with the family? Holiday party or quiet time with my 4 year old boy who is feeling under the weather?

Suddenly these questions seem ridiculous.

There is silence as we mourn with the Newtown families and community.  We are bound to them in prayer as we empathize with their unfathomable loss. We are reminded of how fragile life is and how important it is to embrace every second of it with our loved ones. 

And we wonder if "safe" exists for any of us anymore.

Micah 5:4  He will stand and shepherd his flock...and they shall live securely.

Because of His birth, life, death and resurrection, we can live secure in the knowledge that He waits for us.  He is always close.   He is desperate for us to invite Him in.  Regardless of what we are living through right now, there is comfort and security in his deep and fierce love for us.

Our Shepherd feels our anguish. He knows the pain of losing a child to a terrible death at the hand of sin.  He humbled himself and lived it first hand, so that we could receive the promise of His restoration, and live in the confidence of life everlasting without sin and without pain. 

In this season of faith and family and friends, this tragedy is all the more cruel.  But because He came, we have the promise and assurance of a time and place where we can live, and love, and forgive.

As we focus on the birth of the Redeemer, hold on to the promise.  Be consoled.  Be assured.  Be at peace. 

I shall dwell secure.
He shall be my peace.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.

Your Children