Saturday, March 30, 2013

Matthew 27:59-61 “So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.  He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.”

It was coming up on the Sabbath, the day of rest in the Jewish faith.  I don’t know for sure but I suspect the Mary’s were not too close to the tomb and the body fearing becoming unclean; as women they needed to be clean to perform the Sabbath rites.  Here we are on what I know as black Saturday.  As the disciples sat “in rest” I am sure their minds and hearts were reeling.  The world moved on and they mourned their friend and the loss of their dreams.  I remember when my Mom passed away; it seemed so wrong that there was this big hole in the world where my Mom used to be and the rest of the world didn’t even blink an eye.  How much more did the disciples of Christ feel this?  Did they remember his words in the midst of their despair?  The priests and Pharisees did and tried to do what they could to prevent more “deception.”  As I sit in silence, I cannot fathom the darkness that loomed on that day.  I try for a moment but I do not linger there because I know tomorrow is a day of celebration beyond our wildest dreams...

You shake our world up and I thank you.  We get into our comfortable ruts and so easily close our eyes and hearts to your words.  Remind us on this day of rest that we can rest assured.  Even in this present darkness a new dawn is coming.  Blessed be your name, glory to you my God and Savior!  Amen.
To my dear friends and family I take a moment here to wish you a very Happy Easter!  I am off to a land with no internet access ( My mother in law's home).  Enjoy the celebration of new life tomorrow and know that I will write again next Tuesday morning.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Luke 23:44-45 “It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.”

I remember when my oldest daughter was small and she asked me why today was called Good Friday if Jesus died on that day.  He was beaten, tortured and nailed to a cross.  He was mocked and spat upon and stripped down.  The agony he endured is something I cannot begin to imagine and hope to never even come close to experiencing.  He went through all this for you and for me.  The curtain in the temple was torn in two and now there is no longer a barrier between the Holy of Holies and his people.  His blood and death provide us the purest sacrifice we could have for cleansing and forgiveness.  I remember being so sad that Jesus had to die and there is a part of me that is still so very sad.  God knew.  Jesus knew and they had a plan.  The sadness in my heart is lightened because I know he overcame death and we will celebrate his victory in two more days.  I can only walk into this day with a humble heart filled with thankfulness.  He died so we could live.

We all play a part in your death when we turn away, disobey and disregard your teachings.  Thank you for your life giving forgiveness and love.  Thank you for overcoming death for me and for everyone.  Help me share the life you gave with others in honor of you.  Amen.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

John 13:5 “Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”

Today is a day we remember the Last Supper.  Jesus and his disciples joined the Jewish world in remembering Passover.  This passage in John says that during the meal Jesus did this.  I am touched by the intimacy between Jesus and these men.  They spent every day, more or less together and were probably more like brothers than anything else.  As I read this story I tried to picture my dear friends in church and I gathered together to wash each other’s feet.  Our society does not embrace such intimacy and the image is awkward. We are not good at being opened up and receiving such care from anyone but our own family and maybe not even them.  Jesus knew as he knelt in care and service to his disciples that this would be one of his last acts of love in this lifetime.  He knew the heart of Judas had been turned and that his time was short and this act was how he chose to spend some of those last moments.  He tells the disciples and he tells us in verse 15 “For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

As the days creep on I know what tomorrow brings in my heart.  Help me keep this image of you washing my feet close to my heart today so that I might keep a servants heart and hand toward those I meet today.  As you lead, let me follow.  I ask this only for the glory of your kingdom now and forever.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Matthew 26:3-4 “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.”

It is strange to me how wrong people can be without even seeing it.  We can be led astray and down a slippery slope to the depths of darkness and stay blind to that fact the whole way.  The Pharisees and Sadducees were the leaders of the people.  They were the priests and law keepers, the ones to look to for guidance.  Throughout his ministry Jesus tried to lead them away from the self-righteousness and piety they held in their hearts but they were blind and deaf to see and hear anything he had to say.  In chapter 22 they try to trip him up asking him what is the most important law and his response was “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  As they sat in Caiaphas’s palace, these words never came back to remind them?  Do these words come to remind us today?  Seek redemption and go out in love.

We all fall short of your glory; the Pharisees, the Sadducees, me and all my friends, everyone.  Rather than looking at others and seeing their shortcomings help me look at my own.  Search out the darkness that lurks in each of us and redeem us again today from that slippery slope of destruction.  Thank you again for your sacrifice of love.  I claim victory through you, my Savior and Redeemer.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mark 11: 23-24 “Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you.  So I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

This passage is such a hard one for me.  Jesus was hungry and because a fig tree had no fruit growing on it, he causes it to wither away.  The disciples are astounded and ask him how this happened.  These verses are his response.  My first thought whenever I read this is “that would never really happen” so I already do not have the belief without doubt.  Deeper thoughts are about the will of God.  Why would I ask a mountain to move anyway?  Is praying for something only if it is God’s will a cop out?  Does that allow for me to justify something not happening because it was not the will of God?  If I pray for something and it does not pass as I see it does that mean I was not faithful or did God do what I ask and I cannot see it because it manifested in a different way than I perceived it would?  I definitely feel like one of the disciples looking at these words and lacking the understanding to really grasp the message.  I know this without doubt,  I take everything to the Lord in prayer and I trust Him to do what is right.  That will do for me as my faith continues to grow.

In reality I have seen you move mountains, I have seen you bring healing and wholeness and I have seen you redeem the worst of circumstances.  What more do I need?  Help me believe and see rather that see and believe.  Amen

Monday, March 25, 2013

John 2:14 “In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.”

My purse seems to be a place to collect stuff.  It is designed to carry things that I need but along with my wallet, keys and a couple of other necessities there are  crumbs from a cookie that my kids brought home from church, receipts from grocery shopping that I haven’t filed yet, an old lotion bottle... the list goes on.  Just as my purse has a specific purpose so does the temple in Jerusalem and the temples of our bodies and souls.  Jesus reminds the people that this temple is to be a house of prayer as he cleared out the sellers, animals and money changers that were defiling the temple.  Later in this passage when the Jews questioned his right to do this he refers to his body as a temple.  If we are a temple for God then what needs to be cleared out to bring our temple back to it intended purpose?  What have we let seep in or creep in because it seemed easier or convenient or enticing but then it took root and grew out of proportion?  As we step one day closer to the remembrance of our salvation let us ask Jesus to clear out the grime and clutter that defile our temples.

It brings me comfort to picture you coming in and clearing out all that defiles.  It is a daily process and I am so grateful that I can call on you and you will come.  Cleanse me and renew me to be a true house of prayer and worship for your glory.  Thank you Jesus!  Amen.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday
Luke 19:37-38 “As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’”

Palm Sunday is one of the favorites of my kids.  They love waving the palm branches and singing the happy songs of praise we sing in church on this day.  Indeed, this is a day of celebration.  As adults we have so many things on our minds, so much responsibility, so much to do...  it is harder to get to a place of pure joy and celebration.  On this day of joy and praise I encourage you to look past all of the burdens you carry and search deep for the true joy we all have in our hearts for our Lord and our creator God.  In the midst of the daily grind and regardless of whatever our current struggles are, we can look around us and see the deeds of power that still occur in our world today.  Let go of your strife and struggle for one day.  Join in the celebration because even though dark days are ahead we know this story has a very happy ending.

You came to Jerusalem so long ago fulfilling prophecies of old.  You still come to us today.  You still show us your power and presence today.  Let us find within us the joy and adoration to lift our voices in praise and song.  All glory, laud and honor to you on this blessed day.  Amen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Philippians 4:9 “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

This week in our school, my daughter made a WWJD bracelet.  It was interesting to talk with her about what that means and when we would ask ourselves the question “what would Jesus do?”  Later that day and during the rest of the week I could see her working on that in her mind.  It has been years now since that phase of so many kids wearing those bracelets and most everyone knowing that catch phrase but I think this verse calls me to bring that phrase back into our home and into my days.  Jesus came to earth to teach us and show us how to live in the love and light of God.  He came as a living example to guide us in the truth and the way.  My daughter offered to make me a bracelet and I declined but today I think I will let her make me one too.  It would serve as a little reminder every time I see it to ask myself “what would Jesus do?”    Write it on the palm of your hand for a day, stick a note with those letters in your pocket or hang a note on your mirror.  Let’s start a new old fad and follow the ways of Jesus.  Peace be with you.

Thank you for this wonderful reminder that you showed us the way and you continue to show us through your word and your Spirit. Help us receive the blessing of your guidance with open arms and open hearts.  As we learn to walk with you, let us spread the peace we receive to others around us so that there will be peace on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hebrews 10:10-11 “And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins.”

As we come closer to the end of the season of Lent I cannot help but find the gift of this message filled with blessing and love.  I am so glad I do not have to find a yearling calf or a dove or a lamb to bring to sacrifice for my sins.  I do wonder how often I come to the Lord trying to sacrifice something for my sins to no avail.  There is nothing I can offer, nothing I can bring and nothing I can do to earn the forgiveness of God.  God provided the one true sacrifice for every sin I would ever commit and every sin anyone would ever commit.  We are only called to receive the gift of this offering.  He wants us to be sanctified, he wants us to be free from sin and He gives us a gift to enable us to become sanctified and free.  Join me in taking a few moments to stop doing, stop striving and stop offering.  Open your heart and your hands as I do and simply receive the love and forgiveness of our Lord and Savior.  There is nothing like it.

As we remember your journey to the cross, help us remember that you willingly gave your life for us.  You knew the plan, you created the plan.  Humble our hearts so that we can see the need we have for you in our lives.  Help us receive your gift and become the gift to you that we can be.  Thank you for new days and for unending grace.  Amen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ecclesiastes 3:5 “a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing”

Here is a snapshot of my devotion time this morning.  I was sitting in my chair trying to listen for His word and this verse in Ecclesiastes popped into my head.  “Really?  That is such an obscure book, is this really you or am I just randomly picking books and verses?  Okay, I will go look it up.”... “Oh.  It is you.”  Then I went back to sitting in my chair and pondering what it is that I need to throw away and what I may need to gather.  What am I embracing that needs to be released and what do I need to embrace?  Before this verse was given to me I was thinking about one of my dearest friends who is going through some hard times.  I was asking God about the ebb and flow in life and how some stay in the practice of discipleship regardless of the ebb and flow and some do not.  Why?  Then I received this verse.  Verse 12 says only God knows the beginning to the end and we cannot so I leave you with this:  seek to learn what stones you hold that need to be tossed aside and what stones you need to gather.  Seek to embrace and refrain from embrace by the leading of His Spirit.  Of this I am certain, when we seek He will lead.

Thank you so much for this passage.  Open our hearts and minds, our hands and eyes so that we may clearly see and do as you guide us to.  Help us hold only what you would have us hold and release what we no longer need.  I ask this through You and in You.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Isaiah 42:20 “He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.”

On occasion it is brought to my attention that I am not the most observant person.  My husband recently asked me the color of one of our friend houses and it took me a full day to come to an agreement within myself as to what color it really is.  I go there several times a year, I park in their driveway and yet the color of the house eluded me at first.  Someone will ask me if I noticed the outfit on a person or the color of their hair and I didn’t even see the person much less any of the detail of them.  Then there is my hearing.  A couple of years ago I actually went to get my hearing checked because I needed to make sure I wasn’t losing my hearing.  The good news was my hearing is just fine.  The bad news is that I still do not hear well, especially on the phone.  I suspect this is, in part, that I am not able to listen well.  There are the physical distractions like my children or the noise around me but I suspect the noise in my head and the distractions in my mind do not help either.  Needless to say, this verse in Isaiah broke through all that blindness and deafness to remind me to observe and to truly listen.

Open my eyes to the point of being truly observant.  Open my ears and tune them in to truly listen.  Let us all look and listen so that we see and hear you in our midst today.  Thank you for breaking through to us, for always being there when we finally turn to you, seeing and hearing you after all.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.”

People used to say their word was their bond and most people were good to their word.   If they made a promise they would keep it.  Our trust in each other has diminished over time because a verbal contract nowadays is a rare thing indeed.  You might be able to make a promise to a friend or neighbor but certainly not a stranger or a local business man.  Our word can no longer be our bond.  Really, who can we trust to keep their word besides a true friend?  It would be a big risk to take someone we don’t know at their word.  There is one who never breaks His word; someone we can hold fast to their promises forever.  God’s word is truth and He is faithful to it.  We can trust him with our hearts and our lives because He will never let us down.  All this comes to me in a reminder through another song running through my head as I woke up.  The Word of the Lord holds true, we can trust God!  Let us go out in celebration of the steadfast promises of our Lord and our redeemer!


Thank you for your promises and your truth.  Thank you for showing us how to keep promises.  Forgive us for our failings when we break a promise to you or to another.  Help us mean what we say and stay true to our word and our faith in you.  Give us this new day to start fresh again, holding fast to our hope in you.  Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Psalm 31:3 “You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me”

When I picture a fortress I think of the castles I have seen in the British Isles.  Massive stone castles standing against time; they are still strong and seem impenetrable.  When I head west into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the majesty and grandeur of them speak of God to me.  These towers of rock hold life in their palm.  They are shelter for creatures of many kinds.  This is a reminder to me again that God holds us in his palm, protecting us taking care of us. He is my rock and fortress but he is not stone. He is alive, warm and always present.  His arms hold me close, out of harm’s way and in this embrace, I find strength.   I wonder if my kids collect rocks because somewhere inside of them, they want to hold a small reminder of the strength and beauty of God.  The bible tells us the rocks will cry out in praise if we do not so let the rocks we see today remind us to seek Him and praise Him.  Seek his strength, protection and guidance.  He will not turn away from us.

We do not always see your presence or even feel it but you are there.  Open our eyes to see the reminders you set before us, guide our vision to see you in our midst.  As we move into our day, protect us from straying away; keep us focused clearly on you and your path of righteousness.  I ask all these things in your name and for your glory.  Amen.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:9 “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”

There is no place like home.  When I go on a vacation or trip it is fun to travel and see people and places but as the journey comes close to an end I am usually ready to be home.  Sometimes I stop really seeing the enjoyment in the journey I have remaining because I have already begun to focus on being home.  This is also true for me in my spiritual life.  I cannot count how many times I have said out loud that I am ready to go home.  I long for the day when I can sit in the glory of heaven, worshiping and praising my Lord with no more sadness, no more strife; only joy and love beyond my imagination.  Yet, the Lord has placed me on this journey in this time and in this place for a reason.  I will not lose the longing for home but I need not and should not lose the blessing of the journey while I am away.  I cannot fully please him if I am not living the journey as he has designed it for me.  As I journey, I receive joy in my children and my spouse.  I worship and praise Him in my prayer and my music.  I honor Him in my teaching and my work.  I seek Him in the midst of this journey and He is here.  We are not alone in this journey away from home.  Let’s join together in seeking to please Him in this time away from home.

Thank you for this verse.  Thank you for reminding me again that wherever I am, I aim to please you.  Help me find pleasure in the journey more and more each day until the day when you bring me home.  Amen.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

John 1:11-12 “He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God”

It is hard for me to wrap my mind around being rejected like this.  I come from a family that embraces each other regardless of how and who we are.  We do not agree on everything or believe all of the same things yet we love each other because of and despite these differences.  We know we are cut from the same cloth and we bring beauty to the quilt with our various colors and textures.  The Word, The Christ came to be with his own and he was rejected by most.  He was not invited to their tables for meals or to the family gatherings to share in the fellowship.  He was not invited to share his thoughts and insights but he was pushed away as an outcast.  I am so grateful that some treasured few heard and listened.  I am thankful that John writes these words for us to ponder and embrace.  Our creator came to us; he came to bring love and grace, guidance and redemption.  If we open our hearts to him, we become more like him.  We grow in him and become true children of God.

Your word teaches us that you created all things.  All people are your children but not all of you children acknowledge you.  Soften our hearts and open our eyes to finally accept you and see you in truth.  Guide our steps as we learn and grow into the children you created us to be.  Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Genesis 28:16 “Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it!’”

Jacob had just run away from his brother after stealing his birth right from him and he lay down with a rock as a pillow.  After dreaming about a ladder leading from earth to heaven with angels going up and down it and hearing the voice of God he wakes up and this is his response.  I have not ever dreamed of a ladder from heaven but on occasion I do have dreams that make me want to proclaim that the Lord was in this place!  I wake up with a song or a scripture in my heart that is unexplainable other than the Lord putting it there to speak to me. I love to wake up feeling the presence of the Lord is with me right then or knowing He was with me while I slept.  The thing I so easily seem to forget is that He is always with me.  He is always in this place and I so often sleep right through it.  How often do I go through my days thinking I am awake but in reality I am asleep to the presence of God?  Our God is ever present; He knows no bounds and is where ever we are.  Whether we are using a rock as a pillow in the wilderness or snuggled up tight in our warm covers, He is there.  Whether we work in an office building or in our homes, He is there.  Hallelujah!

You promise to be with us where ever we go and this passage in Genesis is only one of many reminding us of that.  Do not let us sleep any longer, wake us up so we are fully aware of you in our midst and let us sing praise to you for your faithfulness and unending love.  Thank you for the comfort of your presence.  Amen. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Psalm 139:1-2 “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.”

I picture a master woodworker or stone carver when I read these verses.  They know before they even begin with their tools what their creation will be.  They pick a seemingly random piece of wood or rock and see beyond what it is to us; they see what it is on the inside.  They carefully and lovingly hew it and chisel it into shape and then softly sand it to a smooth polished thing of beauty.  The difference is this; they may be working and see a mar or blemish and they work around it if possible.  They may have to complete abandon that piece and start again.  God knows us beyond anything we can even imagine.  He created us exactly how He needed us to be so of course, he has searched and known us.  He placed his breathe and spirit within us so of course he knows when we sit and rise, because He is with us always.  He is omnipotent and ever present and as our thoughts drift toward fruition He has already seen them and is aware of them.  There is nothing He does not know or see and yet, He loves us.  He loves me and He loves you.

I come to you in humble praise this morning.  I find comfort in these verses and I hope others do too.  I know there are times we wish we could hide but those are the times we need you most.  Help us realize this truth of your presence and knowledge and open our hearts to embrace your presence and knowledge.  You abide with us, help us abide with you.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1 John 3:1 “See what love the Father has given, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

Do you remember the first time you held a tiny baby in your arms?  They are so precious and beautiful with their soft new skin and their little wrinkles.  They have those tiny little hands all curled up and they just snuggle into you willingly.  Do you remember the first time the children you love spoke words and the first time they took a wobbly step?  The joy and pride that comes from those moments are a treasure.  Even now as I watch my kids learning and growing, there are moments I am taken back by the amazing gift they are to me.  God has blessed me, all of us, with the children in our lives.  Whether they are our own or ones near and dear to us, they are a reminder of how much God loves us.  The love we feel toward these precious children is only a tiny mirror image of how much God loves us as His children.  I still love to sit in the rocking chair and hold my three year old son.  I am a little sad that my seven year old is too big for my lap but I love that she wants to snuggle up with me too.  As they grow and change, my love does not diminish. As we grow and change, God’s love for us does not diminish either.  What an amazing love is this?

Lord God,
Father of my soul, Father of my spirit, Father of my brothers and sisters, I love you.  Thank you for embracing me in your love and for the blessing of knowing your love never ends.  Thank you for helping me see, through my children, the love you have for your children; for me.  Guide me as I grow and learn, help me guide my children too.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Matthew 8:19-20 “A scribe then approached and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’  And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’”

I wonder how the ministry of Jesus would unfold in the world today.  When He walked this earth he walked and rode in boats because those were the modes of transportation for the most part.  Would he drive a car, ride the city buses or continue to walk wherever he went?  Where would he sleep?  I imagine he spent many a night sleeping under the stars of the desert.  Would he be taken into homes of friends and family, homes of his disciples today?  Would he receive blessings for his ministry and funds to continue on his path?  Would he come and sit in the pews of our churches or more likely be teaching down by the South Platte River?  In my cushy warm house, with my coffee pot brewing and breakfast a slim few minutes of work away how can I begin to understand what he and the disciples gave to serve in this ministry?  I type my words of encouragement after sitting in my comfortable rocking chair while people are huddled together with a cardboard box for a home on this chilly morning.  What do I give for his ministry and kingdom?

Forgive me for my fickle heart.  Each person I see is a child of yours; open my ears and my heart to hear how you would have me love them.  Help the drop in the ocean that I do to serve help them feel loved.  I pray that someday everyone will know they have a home in you.  Amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:20 “So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

After I looked up the word ambassador in the dictionary this verse made so much more sense to me.  I knew (kind of) what an ambassador was but living in Colorado all of my life I haven’t really needed to know the purpose of an ambassador or what their role really was.  The online dictionary’s second definition seemed to fit the best it says an ambassador is “an authorized representative or messenger”.  So, as believers and followers of Christ, He is calling us to be his representatives and share his message of reconciliation to God with others.  I know from experience that it is usually counter-productive to shout it out on a street corner or make speeches at the top of our lungs.  Most of the people to try to get the message across that way are looked at strangely or completely ignored.  We can best share our message of reconciliation by living it out in our own hearts and lives.  Seek reconciliation in your own heart to God, and then with those closest to you.  As we move into reconciling relationships one by one, the world will receive the message and be blessed by it.

The message I hear from you loud and clear is to love others as you love me.  Help me do this.  As I love more and hate less, I am being reconciled to you and to others.  Heal my old battle scars and build a deeper trust so I can be a true ambassador of your message and your love to my family, friends and community.  Amen.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Romans 6: 10-11 “The death he died, he died to sin, once for all’ but the life he lives, he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Passages like this, that talk about being dead to or free from sin, confound me.  In our human nature, while living this life on earth I know I will never be completely without sin.  It is not possible for us to be sin free but it is completely possible to be free from sin.  Even though we step out of bounds or commit infractions, even though we sin by action or inaction every day, we are not slaves to our sin.  It cannot hold us down and keep us captive anymore.  It is in this way that we are free from sin.  We call on the name of Jesus to bring us back, to forgive us again and to help us step forward in grace.  The Word reminds us that grace is forever and unending.  He has set us free, removed the chains of bondage and we can step out of darkness into light each moment, every day because he died to sin, once for all.  He calls us to come out and live with him.  I begin and end each day searching my heart and asking forgiveness for the sins I find with his help.  When I do this, it allows me to step out into the light, leaving my chains behind me and living in and for God.  Come be alive in the light and love of God through Jesus, the Christ!

It is a brand new day and I give thanks to you for it!  Let me heart sing and my feet dance in joy for the love and forgiveness you so freely give.  Help me be a light to others and bring your grace and love to them today.  Thank you Jesus, thank you for your gift of life!  Amen.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

John 6:12-13 “When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’  So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.”

Leftovers.  What do you do with them?  I know people who refuse to even eat leftovers at all and I know I am not alone in finding something hidden in the back of the fridge that was forgotten and now needs to be thrown out.  Sometimes there is just a little bit left, a few bites not worth saving.  I found Jesus words interesting here.  Gather the fragments so nothing may be lost.  It makes me wonder what else we toss aside as waste or worthless that He would want us to gather.  What talent or skill do we have that we discount and hide, never even considering it of value?  What people do we toss aside and useless or worthless when in reality they too are precious creations of God?  What situations do we sweep under the rug or into the dustpan and out with the trash that Jesus would have us work on, learn from and grow through?  As we go through another day, as we sit and gaze out into nature that He so lovingly created, let us search our hearts for leftovers that we need to gather up.  Search for the fragments that we had tossed away and gather them so that they may not be lost.

What beautiful words these are to my soul.  As the sun comes up on this day, open my eyes so I may see clearly what I need to gather.  Soften my heart so that the fragments you would treasure, I will also treasure.  Guide my gathering Lord, I don’t want to have anything or anyone be lost.  Amen.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”

When I was a child I was a little hesitant of revolving doors.  I had very little experience with them and it made me nervous to try and jump in before it was too late.  Escalators had a similar effect on me.  I had to jump on at just the right time or wait for the next opportunity and try again.  If I didn’t do it just right I could get hurt!  Once I got the hang of it, then I had fun riding up and down over and over again.  The purpose of the revolving door and the escalator is to assist people in getting where they are going, not a child’s toy or fun ride to repeat continuously.  Sometimes it feels like repentance, turning away from sin and toward God, is like a revolving door.  I go through it into the blessed presence and grace of God only to continue around and end up back outside in the darkness of the world.  Each day, I jump into the roundabout again, turn toward the Lord and then before I know it, I have turned away to my own ways once more.  The Lord is gracious though and He has mercy unending.  This verse reminds us of that.  He will abundantly pardon when we turn to him.  Take my hand, we can go in together!

Each time I turn to you, I come a little closer and stay a little longer.  Thank you for receiving us all, over and over again.  Cleanse our sins this morning so we can start this new day fresh and renewed through your mercy, I pray in Jesus name, my redeemer and my friend.  Amen.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

I like to think I am not a materialistic person.  For the most part I do not cling to items and having things does not make me feel better or happier.  It is easy for me to say that because I have so much.  There are two cars in my two car garage and a pantry full of food in my kitchen.  I have a beautiful home and a big yard for the kids to play in.  There is a great garden for growing produce in the summer and toys are never ending.  Our closets are full and so are the chests of drawers.  Water and electricity flow without fail in my home.  If I were asked to give up all my possessions in the name of love, would I hesitate and give reasons beyond reasons why I shouldn't?  My kids need a ...  We can’t be healthy without...  In Colorado you have to have...  I am not feeling called to give away all my possessions and I don’t believe most people are.  I do think we need to look at things with a different view.  Our possessions do not give us love and they do not give us the ability to love.  Love transcends the physical tangible world.  Let go of your things, even your person and turn them all over to the Lord so that He may in turn fill you will a love beyond anything you can imagine.  When we let go, we gain much.

As I sort through things and donate, sell or give away stuff, remind me that I am making room for more love.  Clear away the clutter and possessions that I cling to so that I may hold on to you more deeply and then share your love more fully.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Matthew 13:29-30 “He said, ‘Come.’  So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.  But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and began to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”

The saying “Keep your eye on the prize” that is running through my head today.  This story came to me last night as I was doing some prep work for homeschooling today.  When I read this passage in Matthew I could not help but come back to these verses.  Peter calls to Jesus and then on Jesus command he climbs out of the boat and starts walking toward his Lord.  I imagine his eyes intently focused on Jesus and for a moment all trust and faith are in Him.  Then, the wind and the storm around him distract him and he loses his step.  He looks around and remembers the waves and the wind that had tossed him around all night and he begins to sink into the water.  The good news is that he didn’t lose all faith.  He called out “Lord, save me!”  Jesus was right there and rescued him.  How often does this happen to each of us?  We struggle to keep the distractions at bay and to keep our eyes focused on walking toward God.  He is there to rescue us whenever we call out to him.  We simply need to turn our focus toward him again and he will take our hand.  During this season of reflection and repentance, I am reminded that to repent means to turn a new direction.  Do not turn back, turn toward the Lord.

Thank you for always being there ready to grasp our hand when we call out to you.  Help us keep our focus on you, walking toward you in faith, trusting in you.  When we are distracted, help us turn toward you again so we continue to walk a little closer to you each day.  Amen

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

John 1:14, 16 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.  From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

Each morning I sit in quiet time seeking a word from God.  This morning when I read this passage I was struck by these verses.  The Word, the very thing I seek each morning lives within me.  His Spirit, My Lord, Jesus my Redeemer is the Word.  All the words in this beautiful book I read each day lead to the true Word.  They all point to the God of Moses, Jacob and Abraham and they all point to the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.  I asked myself why I even need this book then if I have Jesus in my heart.  I know the message he gives but I am human and I need to have daily reminders to keep me from falling away from his love.  So here is a story to remind us of love and grace.  I heard of a man who chooses homelessness so that he is not subjected to his wife’s drug addiction.  He works full time so he can provide a home and nourishment for her but does not live there and cannot afford to live anywhere else.  He sacrifices out of love and grace.  We do not know anyone else story, what we know is that everyone has a story.  God loves them despite and because of it.  So should we.  Reach out in grace and mercy today.  Receive the grace and mercy offered to you today.  This will change our world.

May your truth and grace fill us to overflowing.  As we are filled inspire us to share with others so that all people receive this grace upon grace.  You are God of abundance.  Thank you for all you have given and keep giving.  Amen.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Psalm 43: 3-4 “O send out your light and your truth; let the lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.  Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, Oh God, my God.”

There is something comforting and soothing about seeing a light in the distance when you are traveling in darkness feeling a little lost.  Have you ever experienced that?  I remember when I was a child, when we would drive up into the mountains in the dusk and then darkness.  I would search the mountainside for lights.  There were little dots of light that indicated a home here and there so I knew we were not completely alone.  I knew we could go toward that light for help if we needed it.   Finally I would see the one light that grew bigger as we came closer and then we had arrived at Grandma and Grandpas house!  Joy! This chapter is calling for God to send his light and rescue David from the darkness of his enemies.  David knew that he could call out to God and God would come.  He would rescue him with his light and his truth.  God still listens for us to call out to Him.  His light and his truth are his guide for us to come to him.  When we follow the guide and come to his altar, we are in the presence of our soul’s greatest joy!  Celebrate and rejoice for the Lord, our God is our refuge and our help in all times.

Thank you for this passage to calm my spirit and remind me one more time to rest in the comfort of your light and truth.  I come to you with praise and thanksgiving because you have given all for me.  Thank you for never giving up on us.  Amen.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.”

I have a saying from my Mom rattling in my memory about hearing and not doing.  She used to say she could talk ‘til she was blue in the face and nothing would get done.  I remember times she would give us a direction as children and we would acknowledge her and then continue on with whatever it was we were doing.  We heard her, really we did.  We heard the garage door opening with my Dad coming home from work better though.  Invariably, if we had not done what was expected yet, we would jump up and rush to do before Daddy would walk in the door.  I don’t think we felt disobedient but we did deceive ourselves.  These actions or inactions, as the case may be, were disobedient.  When we hear the word of the Lord and simply continue on the path we have without considering what we heard, that too, is disobedient.  God gives clear guidance for us to love as He loves, to abide in Him, to serve one another.  I look at my own heart and know I do not always do this.  Of course I will not be infallible but I do not always strive to do.  When we act and do follow the word, James tells us we will be blessed in our doing.  Listen to the word and then go out and do so you will be blessed.

Forgive my inaction and my disobedience in “forgetting” the direction you have given.  Move my heart into action so I may be blessed in acting for your kingdom and so that others may be blessed by my following and doing of your word.  Amen.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Philippians 3:1 “Finally, by brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.  To write the same things for you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.”

Most of us require hearing something more than once to remember and instill it into our brains.  I have heard it said (a few times) that people need to hear things or read things an average of four times to lock it into their memory banks.   The bible is written to help us remember the important things.  There are things that are mentioned countless times like pray, rejoice, worship.  Here Paul is reminding the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord but I really like the way the sentence is written too.  Finally... after everything is said and done, rejoice in the Lord.  Finally, no matter what else has happened rejoice in the Lord.  The call to rejoice is written so many times in the bible and Paul is one that reminds us of it several times in his letters.  God knows how important this is so He reminds us often to do it.  When I came to this verse this morning I realized if I needed to hear it again it was likely some of you did too.  Let me remind us all to rejoice in the Lord.  In all things rejoice in the Lord.  Sing songs of praise and play music, lift your hearts and voices in shouts of praise to the Lord!

As the sun peeks over the horizon my soul sings a song of praise to you.  You create every breath in my lungs, the stars and the moon, the birds that sing morning songs and you create the joy in my heart that causes me to sing.  Help me make this day a day of rejoicing, for this is a day you have made and we are called to rejoice!  Amen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe”

When I am in the middle of being shaken, it is not easy to be filled with reverence and awe.  It is much easier for me to call out to him asking for the shaking to stop.  His shaking is a purifying process though and without it, I would not be made into the new creation He is making in me. I picture an archaeologist with a sifter.  He gently pours the dirt and artifacts into the sifter and shakes out the waste to reveal the treasure.  This is how we are shaken.  It can feel like our whole world is rocking out of control but in reality the gentleness of the Lord our God keeps us safe and we are cleansed of waste, allowing the treasure he created us to be to break forth.  As we come through this process, his kingdom is revealed in new ways and though we have been shaken, his kingdom will remain forever.  Because we have been shaken, cleansed and redeemed, we can bound forth into his holy kingdom, thanks be to God!

Sometimes it feels like a wild ride but I know you have me in your gentle hands.  Thank you for loving us enough to shake the waste and dirt away and allowing us to come into your kingdom renewed and shining as you created us to shine.  I lift your name in praise even as the shaking will continue here; there is no shaking in your holy kingdom.  You and your kingdom remain constant forever and ever.  Amen