“Yet he remained”

jesus_crucifixion_john_mary

There are times in my life when the devotional I am reading speaks deep into my heart during the specific season I am journeying through.   A few months ago, I picked up Beth Moore’s JOHN – 90 Days with The Beloved Disciple.  Yes, 90 days – and yes, I picked it up a few months ago – but, no, I am not nearly done with it.  I wish I could say I am more disciplined to finish a 90 day study in 90 days.  But, yet again, God brings me back to a devotional at just the perfect timing.  Brings me to my knees every time.

My post today will not be my words for the most part.  The story of today’s devotional has hit me deeply on my Lenten Journey.  The story of John at the cross.  The love and faith he had for his Jesus, so much so that he stayed by his side, through the beauty and the ugly.  Oh how I desire to be such a disciple of my Jesus, to look into his face in the good and the bad, loving him, trusting him and believing.  This is why I walk the Lenten journey.  It makes Easter that much sweeter and changes something in me every year.  I can not truly celebrate the beauty and victory of Easter morning without walking with my Lord through hell first.

(From my devotion today)

“John remained nearby Jesus whether his leader was on the Mount of Transfiguration or in the deep of Gethsemane’s suffering.  John leaned affectionately upon Him during the Passover feast but also followed Him into the courts for the trials.  John clung to Jesus when He raised the dead, and he clung to Jesus when He became the dead.

John was found nearby when human reasoning implied his faithful Leader’s mission had failed.  He could not have comprehended that the plan of the ages was going perfectly.  Yet he remained.  He who looked upon a face that had shone like the sun (Matthew 17:2) was willing to look upon a face bloody and spit upon.  He stayed nearby during both Christ’s brightest and darkest hours.  The young disciple knew Jesus in the extremities.  John was willing to look when others would have covered their eyes, and he beheld Him.  How can we behold what we are unwilling to see?

We cannot claim to know anyone intimately whom we’ve not known in the intensity of both agony and elation.  Anyone with eyes willing to truly behold Jesus will at times be confused and shocked by what he/she sees.  You see, if we’re willing to be taken to the extremes of His glory where intimate knowledge is gained, we will undoubtedly see things of Him we cannot explain and that sometimes disturb.  

Then comes the questions:  Will we walk away from Jesus when from human understanding He looks weak and defeated?  Do you know what I mean by that question?

When based on earthly evidence, human reasoning is left to one of two harrowing conclusions: He is either mean or weak.  Think, beloved, about what I’m saying.  Will we cling when our human reasoning implies evil had defeated Him?  Or that evil seems to be found in Him?  Will we stand by faith when human logic says to run?  That’s what will make us different.”

– Beth Moore, JOHN – 90 Days With The Beloved Disciple

Dearest Jesus, I walk this Lenten journey because there is no other road I desire to walk.  As I follow you, as I watch and listen and see, speak deep to my heart the truths of your love and your Kingdom.  And may that which I witness from this time to Easter morning, forever change me and make me different so that I may STAND in this world and fight on the front lines of the battle we face, not just for myself but also for those around me.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Amen.

White as Snow

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Today’s snowfall is not as exciting as it was a few months ago.  By this time, Spring is what we all seem to be wishing for desperately.  However, this morning as I watch the snow fall, I am thankful for the fresh cleansing that it seems to bring.

Yesterday, as I ran some errands, I noticed how yucky everything looked.  The snow was grey and brown and dirty.  The streets were muddy and messy.  The sky was cloudy and grey even as the sun tried to poke through.  And my heart felt all these things as well.  It was just one of those days.   I felt the need for warmth, sunshine, fresh air and cleanliness.  I needed a new start to my day.  I needed a do-over.

Although I am not thrilled to have several more inches of snow on the ground today, I am thankful for what my eyes now see, a white, fresh, clean layer upon the earth.  I am reminded that each day is a new day, a fresh start.  And when I turn towards Jesus, He will cleanse me and make me new, over and over again.  Praise God!

“Come now, let us reason together, says The Lord.  Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are crimson, they shall be like wool.” – Isaiah: 1:18

I look forward to the day when Spring is everywhere, in the colorful flowers and green grass and blazing sun.  I can hardly stand to wait!  But today seems so appropriate.  As I walk this Lenten journey towards Easter, my heart is refreshed.  I am forgiven.  I am made new.  I am clean.  All because of the dark, ugly, dirty path Jesus had to walk.  All because of the sacrifice and love of Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  I am humbled and so very grateful.

Wash me today, Lord.  Make me white as snow.  Amen.

Simplicity

out-of-clutter-find-simplicity

Simplicity.  A simple word, right?  I mean, that is the meaning of the word itself.  It is my word this year.

Simplicity.

So what does it look like to live a life of Simplicity?  That is the question.  That is the journey I am partaking this new year.  The dictionary has several definitions for this word.  (I enjoy checking out what dictionaries say about words.)  The definitions are short and to the point, what you would expect for such a word; for example…”The state of being simple, uncomplicated…”

There is a definition of sorts, however, that I do not find in any dictionary.  It is a definition, explanation or better yet, a way of living out this word that a friend and mentor once asked me.  “What are the good things in your life that you need to say no to so you have room to do the great things?”

Yes, it is a statement I needed to repeat and process a little.  It is a statement that has made a huge impact on my life and the life of my family.  There are just so many good things out there.   Every day can be filled with good deeds and good investments.  There are so many good activities and opportunities.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the good!  We should be doing good things.  What I find is that too often I fill my schedule, my days, my time with so many good things that I end up exhausted, trying to find space to rest and honestly, just sit down.

Here is the thing;  The greatest gift this statement gives to me is the permission to say “No.”  I don’t say it lightly.  I pray.  I seek advice from those I respect and trust.  I  pray some more and listen for a word from the Lord.   For me, life is short.  I want to do good things, but most of all, I want to be involved in the great things that God has for me to be a part of.  I want to be smack dab in the middle of it.  What I have learned is that I can’t do that if my schedule is full.  If my family is running around in a hundred million places.  If I am crawling to bed at night and hitting snooze 15 times in the morning.  I am not giving my best, to myself, to my family, to those around me or to Jesus.

So this year I commit myself to evaluating where I am at in my doing (work).  I commit to making sure I am being (rest).  I commit to saying no to some good things so that I have room to do some great things.

I will most likely be writing more about Simplicity in the days and months to come.  Much more to process with this simple word.  Or is it really simple?

 smileyWink

Treasure = Heart

Baby Jesus

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:34

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Right?  I do think it is, when my heart is in the right place.  It is so easy to get distracted during this season.  My to do list won’t stop.  I just finished my Christmas Shopping this weekend in the midst of a LOT of people.  Finding a parking spot was not fun.  Waiting in lines was not enjoyable either.  Oh, but even as I say I am finished, I still have stockings to stuff.  Got to get to the stores sometime this week.  Oh yea, and I haven’t even started wrapping presents yet.

And then there is the baking….  We still want to make cookies with the kids this weekend.  Family is coming to town for Christmas, so I need to get to the grocery store as well.  And one night this week we want to drive around to see the lights.  Got to get to The Fantasy of Lights!  

Does any of this sound familiar?  I need to assume that I am not alone in this.  Sigh.

It is so easy to get distracted and to allow my heart to be filled with the anxiety and stress of the busyness of this time of year.  Today’s scripture was a good reminder for me.  Where is my heart this Christmas?  What is my treasure?  Is it gifts, lights, decorations, carols, snow and all things ‘Christmas’ to me?  Or is it the manger, the Christ Child, Savior of the world, Baby, God incarnate, God with us?  

A simple reminder for me today.  Christmas is about one thing: God loved the world so much, that He sent His only Son to us, here on this earth, so that we may know His love for us and believe in Him and live with Him forever!! (from John 3:16, in my own words)  It is in this truth, this miracle, this gift of love that I am filled with joy, with excitement, with peace.  God loves you and me that much!

Where is your heart this Christmas?  What is your treasure?  May each one of us experience the wonder and joy that only Jesus can truly give our hearts this season.  God bless you, every one of you!  Merry Christmas.

 

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…and he will be called Wonderful Counselor,            Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

 

“Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant, O Come ye, O Come ye to Bethlehem.  Come and Behold Him, born the King of Angels.  O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”

 

Mary

mary's song

Reading through Luke, I can not help but be awed by Mary.  A young girl who said, “Yes”.  Her exact words as recorded in Luke; “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”  She said this to Gabriel, Angel of The Lord, who was standing right there in her midst.

I am not sure what I would do if such a thing happened to me; a visit from Gabriel or any Angel of The Lord for that matter.  I can not help to think of the depth of love Mary must have had for her God.  To surrender so easily and give herself so fully to God’s will.  I imagine that she really had no idea what was to come, but she knew her God enough to know that He was good, that He was love.  That was enough to say yes.

May my thoughts, words and actions reflect the love I have for my God.  May the depth of my love grow deep, and may Mary be an inspiration of faith to my soul.

“Marvel with me at the fact that she, Mary, was plain, simple and extraordinarily ordinary.  That’s part of the beauty of God choosing someone like you and me to know Him and serve Him.  May we never get over it.” – Beth Moore, 90 Days with the One and Only.

Thank you, Father God, for looking with such favor upon your children.  You love us.  You care for us, and you call us to participate in the reconciliation of your children to you.  I am humbled.  I am awed.  May we step into your presence with full confidence and humility, knowing that you are always with us, loving us, guiding us and walking us through every valley and up every mountain.  You are good.  You are faithful.  You are love.  May my love for you be as deep and pure as Mary’s.  Thank you for her witness, her example, her heart.  Amen.