Have you ever gotten a continual message from God…over and over and over again in as many different ways as you can imagine? Lately that has been my experience with the gospel. Every book I pick up, every sermon I hear, every quote I find, and every verse I read points me to the gospel…or… Continue reading Do You Know How to Live Grace?
I was very tired the night before and I didn’t set my alarm. After all, I have two alarm clocks ages 6 and 7. They are relentless in their early morning wake ups. And although, they did wake me up briefly, they just went and played. Beautiful!
I woke later than I’ve slept in years. I thanked God for rest and began what was to be a great day.
My oldest daughter was downstairs with the dogs watching TV – and yes, the dogs were watching TV too. Honestly – all the “children” in my house are enamored by any kind of screen!
As soon as I entered the kitchen, she shut off the TV and we planned breakfast. We discussed making breakfast in bed for the boys, but decided we just wanted to get the day started! The boys dragged themselves downstairs shortly thereafter and we got our day moving…with chocolate chip pancakes and oatmeal with all the fixings.
Emma and I ran out to pick up a couple of things including a soda for everyone. Soda is a treat now. We have been trying to lessen our sugar intake – no easy feat.
The rest of our day was spent outside working on the yard together. Music blaring, sun shining, and dogs romping. It was just perfect…except for 1 snake, 2 black widows, 1 brown recluse, lots of doggie landmines, and the task of filling 28 bags with leaves!
But the yard looks great! And the soda tasted wonderful…although we all ended the day with headaches – either from dehydration or sugar…or both.
We enjoyed dinner on the patio and a family devotional around the fire pit roasting marshmallows. (When we go back to sugar, we go back big!)
This day was such a blessing especially in light of previous week which had been a little challenging at times. It included but was not limited to sick children and an overflowing toilet which poured nasty water down into the kitchen. (I will say that my house is now very well disinfected, but yuck!!!)
This near perfect day reminded me of how I’m so easily impacted by my circumstances…whether they are good or bad.
My kids noticed my happy attitude that lovely day. My son asked if I could sleep in everyday because I was so much less stressed. My oldest daughter said, “Well, maybe it was because we were actually really helping mom today.” I laughed and said, “I think it was a little bit of both.”
But I don’t want my emotions and attitude to be dependent on my children’s obedience or my sleep habits or anything else for that matter.
Lately God keeps bringing me to the book of Colossians – particularly 3:12-15
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgive you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Those verses don’t only describe who I am, but how I want to be.
I am – chosen, holy, beloved.
I want to be – compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forbearing, forgiving, loving, peaceful and thankful.
So how do I do that? Even on a bad day?
It struck me that Colossians is a letter written by Paul, a prisoner, to share the secret of contentment and fulfillment with the church at Colossae – people who were in a much better situation than he was. Isn’t that amazing!
I really love Paul’s perspective on things. I love that he doesn’t offer Christian platitudes or a “name-it-claim-it” mentality or even a “do-good–or-else” mindset.
He shares often how difficult life can be. In fact in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 he shares how he was to the point of giving up.
For we do not want you to be ignorant brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
He doesn’t sugar coat the challenge of living a life of commitment to Christ.
he also tells what is possible in this life of being a Christ follower… what we are called to…
I’d say the one word Paul uses a lot…the word he calls us to is JOY
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
As I typed that verse do you know what hit me? That it wasn’t “Rejoice!!!” That’s how I would have written it. But my teenage daughter tells me I use too many exclamation points – so maybe it’s just me?!
It’s one of those words which begs for exclamation points, especially when it’s an imperative. But maybe the reason he doesn’t add the excitement is because it is supposed to be a way of life not a cheer leading competition.
After all, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 he says, “Rejoice always”. Amazingly, this joy thing is supposed to be an all-the-time thing. Imagine that? Honestly, I can’t…but then again, I can.
I can because like I said before – there is a lot to be joyful about isn’t there!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances,for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
That day was a joyful day. I think every day should be a joyful day.
I’m not talking about being happy – I’m talking about joy.
Happy is hard…at least for me because it is based on my circumstances, what I feel.
Joy is another matter….joy is not about what I feel; it’s about what I know.
So what do I know…
I have an eternal inheritance and hope.
Nothing can separate me from Him.
I’m a new creature in Christ now.
I’m more than a conqueror.
I’m beloved and precious.
I’m forgiven and holy.
I’m those things on a good day and a bad day.
I’m blessed no matter the circumstances of my day.
I was blessed the day we enjoyed sunshine and sleeping late.
And, although I can’t believe I’m saying it, I was blessed the day the toilet leaked all over the place.
Even though it was disgusting with a capital D, we did laugh, my bathroom and kitchen were cleaned…seriously cleaned, and we all worked together well. Those are all good things.
But even if we had not laughed but rather fought and yelled and despaired, I’d still be blessed because God is my God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved with various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7
I was talking with a friend lately about how it feels like for the past 5+ years God has asked me to give up A LOT! Sometimes it feels like all I’m doing is giving up people, things, hopes, and dreams… Sometimes it has felt unbearable and sometimes it has been relatively easy. Sometimes… Continue reading Are You Giving UP?
It’s been a weird week or so. Do you know what I mean? I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s been a little off. I think I know part of the reason and it’s quite surprising to me. Particularly because I thought I was kinda past all this stuff. You know all healed… Continue reading What Happens Afterwards?