Friday, April 27, 2012

My Best Gift Ever

I was looking through my jewelry box the other day. Lifting up some little boxes, I came upon two lariat type necklaces. One was silver with clear glass gems and the other identical except for pink gems. Just looking at those two necklaces brought back memories. They had been a gift from my son, when he was about 5 years old. I will never forget his words as I unwrapped the gift he had so carefully purchased for me. Under all of the bright colored tissue, I found the two necklaces, each with more than half of the gems missing. Christopher's eyes were bright with excitement as he said, "Mom, I found these two necklaces and they were so beautiful. Look, Mom, look look..they have real diamonds. I know they are real because someone already stole half the diamonds. I thought they were so beautiful that I bought you two!" In my heart I chuckled at his little boy happiness and how sweet it was that he thought he had bought me real diamonds. They have always been one of my most precious gifts, not because they have real diamonds (of course they are only glass), but because my little boy said they were real. Marie-Louise did a similar thing when she was about seven. Across the street there was a yard sale that she went to with one of her little friends. Coming back from her shopping adventure she said, "Mom, I got you this.". In her hand was a chipped piece of decorative glass missing an obvious top piece. "Mom, look how beautiful this crystal is, I just knew you would love it. Happy Birthday!" Of course I wore my necklaces a few times and for a while, that piece of broken glass sat on a shelf in my kitchen window. I have saved them both. Not because they have any monetary value, but because they are among my most precious possessions. Both having much more value to me than to anyone else in the world. Thinking about those little gifts, I'm reminded of the gift of Salvation that Jesus gave to us. Being the most valuable and costly gift ever, he sold everything to give this gift to us. And what did we give him in return? We gave him ourselves, broken, chipped, worn out, and missing pieces. Gladly he took our gift and wearing us like a precious gem around his neck, he has taken upon himself our brokenness, our failures, our hurts and pain. Never once has he said our gift isn't good enough. Never once has he rejected our gift. Looking at our lives, he sees the missing diamonds, and broken crystal, and says, "Look, the Devil has stolen some of your diamonds. Your crystal is cracked a broken. Come, let me replace your diamonds and mend your cracks.". Fixing us up, he then declares the we are his most precious possession. I can just imagine what it is like, as he polishes us up and shows us to his Father. "Look, Father, at what I have brought you. See how beautiful these are? I found this one and she was missing diamonds,you see. The devil had stolen them. I took her and replaced the stolen gems. See how beautiful she is? And this one, see what a beautiful piece of crystal he is? Isn't he just amazing? When I got him he was cracked and broken but I have mended him. Just look at the way the light makes him sparkle.". Then, because Jesus said we were of great value, the Father accepts us and puts us in a place of prominence, seated with Him. I have treasured my gifts from my children because they came from their hands. The missing parts and broken pieces only made them more dear and special. My friend, we all come to Jesus, broken and missing pieces. But He doesn't care. Coming to Him broken and lost, only makes us more dear to Him. He doesn't see what is missing, He just finds pleasure in who we are in Him He treasures us and likes to show us off to His Father. He treasures us. He treasures YOU! So when the devil tries to remind you of your worthlessness just remember who you belong to. Just remember where you are seated. Just remember what Jesus says about you. With excitement in His voice and a twinkle in His eyes, He comes to the Father and says, "Look what I brought to you Father." Just remember that twinkle in Jesus' eyes is for YOU! Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you are saved! -and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Reason to Live and a Passion to Express.

I don't think I am any different than anyone else. I have aches and pains and days when I would rather stay home and sleep a little longer. I have days of frustration and stress however one thing I know is this.... I have a reason to live and a passion to express. I have a Jesus to live for and a calling that won't let me go. Many times I have prayed for people who seem to have nothing to live for. Depression and hopelessness consume them. As I pray, I often reflect that I am no different than they are, except for one thing. I have a reason to live and a passion to express. I know who it is that I believe in. I know why I am alive. I know that no matter what comes my way I have a God who lives inside of me and He won't let me go. But as I said before, I am no different than anyone else... except for that one thing. I know the truth. The Bible says that you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. But truth alone won't set you free, you have to know the truth. It is in the knowing that we are made free. Jesus is the Truth..once while Jesus spoke to is disciples he told them that there will be those who at the end of their life, will stand before God and He will say to them, "Depart from me. I never knew you." Matthew 7:15-23 Jesus knows us and He desires for us to know Him. It is in the knowing that we are made free. Freedom brings life and a reason to live. Freedom gives us hope and passion. Freedom changes who we are and what we will become. Freedom gives us a future and a hope. Jesus is my reason to live and my passion to express. If you are discouraged and facing troubles today remember, Jesus is the reason you live. Jesus gives you hope. Jesus give peace in impossible situations. Jesus can burn a passion in your soul that will consume you. The next time you feel sad, or lonely or defeated just remember too, have a reason to live and a passion to express. His name is Jesus!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being Someone Else

Sometimes kids say things so profound that it is hard to believe that those words came from the mouth of a child. Many years ago, I had a friend who was emotionally needy and seemed to always be angry, upset, afraid, you name it, she could be all those things in one day. My son, who was quite young at the time, heard me praying for and counseling my friend. After she left, my wise little boy said, "Mom, you know how everyone says, just be yourself? Well I think your friend should try being someone else for a change. Being herself just isn't working." I don't know whether or not his words struck you as profound, but I have never forgotten what he said that day. You see, we should all try being someone else. It's never good enough to settle for who we are. We should be like Jesus however by ourselves this is impossible to do unless the Holy Spirit helps us. Today my mind has been bombarded with thoughts of someone I have been angry with, and in the middle of my mental ranting and raving I remembered, "try being someone else." "Yes Jesus, I will try being someone else..being me isn't working out so well. Would you help me to be more like you? Fill me with your Spirit and make me new. I don't want to be me any more." I doubt that I am the only one who needs to be someone else. How about you? How's being "you" working out for you? We can't forgive by ourselves, we can't go on by our selves. We can't have faith or joy or peace in ourselves. Try being someone else for a change. May we all be like Jesus! Then let me know how it's working out for you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who's Carrying Who?

This morning I was reading in 1 Chronicles 17, where King David desired to build God a great temple. Nathan the prophet, speaking for God, responded to David's desire and said in verse 4-6, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders[a] whom I commanded to shepherd my people, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ NIV Notice where God said that he moved from one tent to another, from one dwelling place to another. Wherever the Israelites went, God moved with them. God never asked for a temple. He never once showed displeasure or impatience because he was forced to travel and move from place to place. No, rather he was pleased to travel with Israel. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God takes pleasure in inhabiting his people. He desire is to dwell in our tent, to travel with us from place to place. He is not happy in a building built with bricks and wood. He doesn't want to be set aside in a building made with human hands. His desire, is to live inside of the temple that he built. You! You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Each and everyone of us was designed to contain God. Imagine that! We were created to house Almighty God. Instead of fear, sadness, defeat, or rejection, we can contain God. Instead of being the temple of hopelessness, sickness and pain, we are the temple of the Living God. So today, remember that God is with you. You didn't leave him in some church building or beautiful temple. He is inside of you. And remarkably, instead of you carrying him along, he is carrying you. All through your day, no matter what happens or comes your way, God Almighty is carrying you! He likes it that way!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Let the Son Shine

Have you ever had a thought, that was like a flash in your mind, telling you that you just read something very significant? Well, today, when I read 2Kings 23:4, it was like a light bulb went on in my brain. Josiah made a covenant before the Lord and commanded the priests and the "Keepers of the Threshold" to take all the idols and wicked things out of the house of the Lord. Did you catch that? The Keepers of the Threshold! If you have followed me in my journey of covenant teaching, you will know that the Threshold was a significant place of covenant. Josiah told these "Keepers", to remove all the wickedness from the temple of the Lord. These men, charged with keeping the Covenant place of God sacred, had failed and had let all kinds of evil cross over the temple threshold. Now they were commanded to remove such things. We are called the temple of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Our duty is to place guards at our threshold, the place of covenant, the place of entrance. Our hearts and minds are fragile and easily wounded and deceived. So we are commanded to guard our hearts, to defend our threshold. The enemy of our soul is planning, even now, ways to conquer you and I. He is sneaky and will try to enter our temple through any way possible. He will use movies, music or even our friends to cross over into our temple and cripple us. Right now it is spring time in New York and as the sunshine bursts through my windows I can see how grungy my curtains have become, how dusty and dingy everything looks. The Spring sunshine reveals everything and it's time to clean house. Charged by God to defend His dwelling place, we are commanded to clean our spiritual house. Ask the Lord to shine his light on you and reveal what has crossed over your threshold. Perhaps you have been going through a winter season in your spirit. Ask God to show you where you have become dingy and dull. Let's polish our windows and mop the floors, wash away the grime and let the Son shine through.