Five Minute Friday: Mighty

Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday. Five minutes. Just writing whatever comes out. No edits necessary. If you have five minutes, join the party! Find out how here.


Ready? Go. 

My mind wanders back to small church sitting on the side of a country road. Song service (that’s what we called worship back then) was in full swing. The congregation was singing out the old chorus: “What a mighty God we serve. What a mighty God we serve. The angels bow before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What a mighty God we serve.” Of course, we sang it in a medley with Sing Hosanna. If y’all don’t know the song I’m singing in my head right now, well…let’s move on.

He is, isn’t He? Mighty.

I love what Scripture says in Zephaniah.

The Lord your God is with you, He is MIGHTY to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. -Zeph. 3:17

I love the picture this verse paints. A mighty warrior juxtaposed with a loving God who delights in us and rejoices over us with singing. He is both. Always both. He fights for us and defends us with the same intensity and might with which He loves us and delights in us.

Let that sink in. And, take heart!

Stop.

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Fix Your Eyes

20140327-223140.jpgHello, sweet friends.

Today was one of those days. That may be an understatement. The past few weeks have been rough. Really hard. Challenge upon challenge seemed to slam down on my head in unrelenting and unapologetic fashion day after day after day.

Then I remembered.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalms 16:8.

In trouble: I will keep my eyes on the Lord.

In heartache: I will keep my eyes on the Lord.

In plenty or in need: I will keep my eyes on the Lord.

When I feel pressed: I will keep my eyes always on the Lord.

When I feel tired: I will keep my eyes always on the Lord.

See, He is the only sure thing. He’s unchanging, unfailing, and good. He’s my help, my strength, my joy, and my provision. He is HOPE.

I am so thankful that I belong to Him. 


 

On another note:

On my ride home today, I was listening to my new Kari Jobe CD and feeling a little blue because I would not be able to see her on either of her upcoming tour stops. She is in Lexington tonight and will be in Louisville next week, but there was no way we could buy tickets to either event. (Winter has been really long.) These were sure to be powerful nights of worship and I really, really wanted to be there.

Then, I opened my mail.

Some kind and generous soul sent me tickets. The flood of tears burned my cheeks. I could not find my words. My sweet husband had no idea what had just happened.

I have no idea who sent those tickets. I have no idea why they sent them. But, I am so grateful that they did. Whoever you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart. God used you to encourage me today in a great big way. I am overwhelmed by your kindness, by his kindness shown through you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday. Five minutes. Just writing whatever comes out. No edits necessary. If you have five minutes, join the party!  Find out how here.

Go.

Always be joyful. 

What’s that now? Always? Yes, always.

That is one of those bits of Scripture that can be hard to swallow. I was taught that there are few instances where the word “always” or “never” really applies. But, there it is jumping off the pages of holy scripture. Always. Be. Joyful.

What about those days when circumstances threaten to overwhelm you? Yes, even then.

What about those days when you are exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally?  Yes, even then.

What about that moment when you’ve just received devastating news? Yes, even then.

What about that week when you aren’t sure how you are going to make ends meet? Yes, even then.

What about those times when your heart is broken and hurting? Yes, even then.

That’s hard. But, I’ve learned that we can choose joy because we have hope. We have hope because we belong to Jesus. The one and only Hope of all the World.

The heavenly hosts declared it from the very beginning: “Do not be afraid, I bring you glad tidings of great joy…the Savior is born.” Great joy. His name is Jesus.

Stop.

Truth Behind Tradition

Happy Monday! And, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (And, happy birthday Mamaw!)

Throughout the weekend, loads of Americans donned their best (and sometimes not quite) green attire and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by attending various parades, visiting Irish pubs, and drinking lots of Irish beer. Confession: I wore green today, accidentally. 

St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland who actually hailed from Britain. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish marauders and held captive for years. During his time there, he converted to Christianity and after escaping vowed to return to Ireland to rid the land of its pagans. He did return to Ireland as a missionary. March 17th marks the day of the religious feast in his honor and also marks the date of his death in the 5th century. And, so we celebrate? I assume this holiday is like others that have been consumer-ized  (I think I may have just invented a word) almost beyond recognition. We wear green and pinch people who do not. Some drink beer and many enjoy parades. We talk of leprechauns, shamrocks,  and the luck of the Irish. But, I wonder how many people know the real story. I am sure many people do, but I could not be counted among them! Blue was actually the color associated with Saint Patrick.  The Shamrock (which does not exist but resembles clover) was used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity and was worn later as a symbol of Irish Christianity not luck. Am I the only one who didn’t know?! No matter.  

I never knew the history behind the observance of St. Patrick’s Day, nor did I know the story of the man Saint Patrick until a few years ago when something piqued my curiosity. I heard, for the first time, a portion of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayer. And, wow. It’s beautiful. And, powerful. This beautiful prayer reminds me of one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 139.

A portion of the prayer is to follow. I pray the words are like balm to your soul and remind you that He hems us in and has laid His hand upon us. (Ps. 139, NIV) That is good news. Happy news. It’s one of the greatest reasons I can think of to celebrate.

So, celebrate big sweet friends. Jesus knows you. Jesus loves you.

From Saint Patrick's Prayer

*Note: The historical info I included came from History.com. 

#ModelStatus – Guest Blogger, Maddie Grace

My sweet girl, Maddie Grace, wanted to write a little post for my blog. She is only twelve, but what’s she’s talking about here is important; and, I am glad that she wants to use her voice to encourage others to reflect Christ. She’s growing into quite a beauty, inside and out. God’s masterpiece. It makes my heart smile to watch how He’s working in her life. Thanks for reading!
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The teacher was late. 10 minutes late. It was 7th period spiritual life class. Me,Daisy, Malcolm and Dalton took action, we ran to the wall and struck awkward model poses. They were very, um…disturbing or model-ish as we might say. We stood frozen, and then the teacher came in.
“Hey guys sorry I’m, oh…” He said with just one glimpse of us. We all burst out laughing. Then I started thinking about what a model’s purpose is: to “advertise” clothing and make people want to buy it.
In the same way, we are God’s models. He uses us to go and to advertise his word, his truth and make people want and need Him more.
We are called to be a model for God. We are made in his image, specifically for His purpose. You don’t have to have the greatest hair or the prettiest face! So just remember, the next time you get an opportunity, model God’s truth the best you can. #modelstatus

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Five Minute Friday: Crowd

Five Minute Friday

Linking up to 5-Minute Friday. Five minutes. Just writing. If you’re up for it, join us.  Find out how here.

Go.

I’m not normally one for a crowd. People can get lost in a crowd.

Jesus seemed to attract a crowd. Crowds followed him. Crowds that were full of curious people who wanted to get a look at Him. But Jesus had a knack for finding one. 

I remember the blind beggar lying on the side of the road as the crowd pushed through in pursuit of Jesus.  The blind guy shouted. The crowd disregarded him and even rebuked him, but Jesus heard him and saw him and healed him.

What about Zaccheus?  He climbed a tree so that he could just catch a glimpse of Jesus.  Jesus saw him and called him by name and invited Himself to lunch and saved him.

Then, there’s the woman who had been sick for years. Twelve years. She pushed her way through the crowd desperate to touch his clothes. Jesus knew that she was there and stopped in his tracks to address her, to heal her.

Yes, people can get lost in a crowd. Or, people may even prefer to blend into the crowd.  Then there are some, like the ones I’ve already mentioned, who will do whatever it takes to be found. And Jesus?  Well, he promises that we will find him when we seek him with all our hearts. Whatever. It. Takes. All that I am. All in.

Why? Because, He’s Jesus. I love Him so. I need Him desperately.

Stop.

Five Minute Friday: Willing

It’s Friday.  So, I will write. It’s been a while.  But, that’s ok. Five minutes. No starting and stopping. No editing. Just writing. You want to join me?  I’d thought you’d never ask! Here’s where you can find out how to join me (and lots of others).

And, go.

Willing.  That’s the word.

Being willing, in my mind, has everything to do with surrender.  It’s submission. It’s letting go. It means being willing to lose my life for Him so that I can find it in Him. It means living with open hands and an open heart.

Willing.

Willing to be bold. Willing to be courageous. Willing to be obedient. Willing to love extravagantly. Willing to be generous. Willing to believe. Willing to trust. Willing to be His. All His.

The good news: If I am willing, then so is He.  He’s more than willing. He never asked anything more of me than for me to be willing. 

And, I am. I am willing to lay my heart and my life wide open in His hands so that He can  do with me what He will.

Stop.