Thursday, April 25, 2019

Seeing Jesus in the Book of John {resources}

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of. men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." -John 1:4-5

There is no way to take up this challenge in my own strength. Left to my own power, my eyes will be blinded and I will fail to see Jesus as He reveals Himself. But in Him is life and light. He will open my eyes, illumine my path and pour love through me as I keep in step with Him.

I've chosen to soak in the book of John for the duration of these 40 days. I'm not going to hurry; I'm going to linger. Today I read five verses- and He spoke. I may read a word, a verse, a section, or a chapter before He speaks- but as soon as He highlights what He wants me to carry with me I'll wrap up my reading for the day. And meditate (chew on, fix my mind on, look up in another translation) on what He has given. I invite you to join me in the book of John as we look for Him!

I also borrowed Love Does by Bob Goff- it seemed like a great companion on this journey. Have you read it?

What other books would you add to our resource list for this challenge of Seeing Jesus in Every Face?

Monday, April 22, 2019

40 Days of Seeing...

teachers on their knees following the example of Christ, washing their students' feet. bringing the Word to a chapel full of people (spanning multiple generations) for Easter chapel. our second born being baptized. the jarring sound of nails hammered into wood. friends gathered around our table breaking bread and drinking the cup. it was a powerful, humbling day full of glimpses of Him everywhere I turned. it made me long to see Him more often in my daily life. I want it to be my way of life- my new normal. seeing Jesus everywhere I go, like Mother Theresa did: "I see Jesus in every human being, I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.

in the 40 days after His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples in random places and unexpected moments. they didn't always recognize Him at first. but with practice I think they started seeing Him everywhere. I can't imagine how they must have felt to hear Him explain the story of Scripture to them or to fish with them again or to enjoy a meal together once more. their hearts must have been so full of love, relief and hope. He was filling up their hearts with love, rebuilding their faith, and teaching them everything they needed to know for when He returned to the Father. and I believe He comes to us still in kindness and love, in power, holiness and knowledge giving us everything we need for life and godliness. sometimes He meets us in our prayer closets, and other times He refreshes our hearts through a friend.

so I want to look for Him in these 40 days between resurrection and ascension. I want to see Him in the face of my mischievous three year old and in the old man walking down the road. I want to serve Him as I make breakfast for my kids and meet with secondary girls before school. I want to love them like I love Him. "For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in...Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." -Matthew 25:35, 40

 I'd love for you to join me in taking this 40 day challenge: 40 days of seeing Jesus in every face. but I guarantee it won't be easy. I'm on Day 1... and my girls already spilled paint all over my lace table cloth and I did NOT react the way I hope I would react towards Jesus. I am much more aware already and that is half the battle.

as we cultivate our love relationship with Jesus in these days I pray that this small challenge would draw you closer to Him. that you would enjoy life together with Him. serve Him well. love Him extravagantly. AND allow Him to love you back. are you in? leave a comment, share this post, comment on FB and let us know!

A prayer from Mother Theresa and used by her Sisters of Charity in their work: " Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you. Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say: “Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.” Lord, give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous. I will ever find joy in humoring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all poor sufferers. O beloved sick, how doubly dear you are to me, when you personify Christ; and what a privilege is mine to be allowed to tend you. Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience. And O God, while you are Jesus, my patient, deign also to be to me a patient Jesus, bearing with my faults, looking only to my intention, which is to love and serve you in the person of each of your sick. Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and forevermore. Amen."

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Body + Soul + Mind

God is in the business of restoration. He is a healer. He desires connection and wholeness even more than we do and He doesn't care how long it takes or how painful the process. He cares more about our character than our comfort... a friend of mine likes to remind me.

It has been an intense season. And God is doing some deep healing in my soul. He is renewing my mind. He is arming me for battle. After reading The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson and walking through the Steps of Freedom I was set free from some major lies I have been believing and was able to  break some agreements that I have made with the enemy.

So, during retreat in Kenya I felt the need for my body to catch up with my soul.

It is Lent... a preparation season... as I was crucifying more of my old nature, God invited me to experience these truths in a fresh way. By making a physical, public declaration I was identifying with Christ in His death on the cross and in the power of His resurrection! What precious timing.

The work of God is a spiral curriculum. He addresses something within us. We think we have mastered it. Then it comes back around deeper and more thoroughly. I've been saved since I was six years old. I surrendered my future to God when I was thirteen. I surrendered again when my mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was fifteen. I surrendered the daily living of my life to God (dead to self alive to God) my freshman year of college. And countless times since then I've laid it all down. But always deeper and more thoroughly. He is preparing me for some big things (please watch this 1 hour talk)- and all it stirs in me is humility- I've got so far yet to go!!

He is so kind. But also jealous. There is no room in my heart for God + _____...

He doesn't just want our songs on Sunday morning. Or our prayers when we wake each morning. He doesn't just want our weekly tithe. He wants all of us- our whole lives. And the good news is- when we give Him all of us, we get ALL OF HIM. Seriously the best news ever. He wants authority over my eating, my resting, my preaching, my parenting, my screen time, my spending... and guys, I want that too... He is so good. I can trust Him with it all. There is so much freedom there! Just a one piece life. (I struggled to find the Ann Voskamp post about living a one piece life- here is an excerpt from another blog- sorry I can't link it for you)

"When you let all the fabric of your life weave fluid together — the kids, the serving, the going, the giving — your life becomes this seamless tapestry. Live into the kind of ministry that lets you bring your life with you. Live into the kind of vocation that lets you live a full life. The work of family can flow fluid into the work of serving, which can flow fluid back into the fabric of the family, and family and ministry and your life’s work can be a One-Piece Life and what corporate model threatens to make our lives so profoundly disconnected? What corporate model has infiltrated our collective thinking such that family and work and living and modelling for the next generation what life is all about —  has left us with painfully disjointed and fragmented and compartmentalized lives? When you live a One-Piece Life — you don’t see your life as falling to pieces as much as it is falling together.... 

I have profaned the sacred, treated the holy in an unholy way. There are times, I still do. But I am prayerfully purposing to walk towards all of life as sacred ground, all of life as hallowed--because God is here, everywhere.

For me, it is about holistic living. We know that our health is not limited to just what we eat, or just if we exercise, or just where we live, or only what medications or vitamins we take, but it is about being a whole person--all of those elements factor into our being healthy. To live a spiritually holistic life, one can't simply have "Bible time" and expect to nourish an intimate relationship with Jesus. It is about keeping company with Jesus for the other 23 hours of the day, speaking with Him, singing toHim, praying to Him, calling out to Him, resting in Him--living in Him. There is no divide between holy and sacred. God wove life to be seamless, a tunic like Jesus’: one piece. For all is in Him. “In God…we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence” (Ps. 139:7).

Some may think of this as "Practicing the Presence of God"--but to do that we have to practice being *aware* of the presence of God. He *is* already here--we just need to wake up. We do not have to practice *making* Him present--He walks this moment with us.

His word is not confined only to a quiet time for “they are not just idle words for you—they are your LIFE”( Deuteronomy 32:47).

Life is our liturgy. *All* of Life is our time with God.

Throughout your day, you will worship God, together. And you'll learn to die to self together. There will be no fragmented scraps of learning, home-life, friends, work, God.

You will make a one-piece life--hallowed threads of parenting, love, education, living, creativity, wonder, sacrifice, and God all woven together. You'll wear it, and it will fit: Grace, Love, Gratitude." -Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Praying Isaiah 44

The war rages on. The battle in the heavenlies. It's been thick lately. And I am learning so much. Since January I've been trying a new practice that has really been strengthening my faith. And I would love to share it with you.

Praying the Scripture has been on my radar for years. And as I pray I weave bits of Scripture or verses or phrases into my requests. But this year, I have been praying one chapter of Isaiah at a time. And it has been powerful.

Aligning our prayers with God's will is vital. What better way to do that than pray His own words back to Him?

Here is a prayer based on Isaiah 44:

"I am Your servant, O Lord- chosen by You, made by You, formed by You- help me. I won't fear, my Master- for You have chosen me. Pour water on those who are thirsty, flood the dry ground with Your living water. Pour out Your Spirit on our descendants (and our students). and Your blessing on our offspring; may they spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses. May they say "I am the Lord's", call themselves by Your name, and write with their hands, "The Lord's". May they be wholly Yours. You are my King, my Redeemer, the Lord of hosts; You are the first and last, besides You there is no God. Who can proclaim as You do? I won't fear, I won't be afraid; I am Your witness, there is no God besides You. Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.

All our idols are useless, the precious things we run to and cling to won't profit us anything. May they be ashamed. Forgive us for forming gods and molding images that profit us nothing. God, we work so hard to please, and bow so deeply to things that cannot satisfy us. Hear, and forgive our idolatry. May they utterly fail and disappoint us. Give us eyes to see the futility of idol worship. Forgive us for falling down and worshipping anything but You. We feed on ashes; the deceiver has lied to us, turned us aside- but we cannot deliver our own souls, nor can I deliver anyone else's soul- You alone are our Deliverer. 

You have formed me, and I am Your servant- don't forget me. Blot out our transgressions and our sins. May we return to You, for You have redeemed us.

Let us sing for You have done it! We shout and break forth into singing! For You, Lord have redeemed us, and glorified Yourself in our midst. You are the Lord, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Yourself... frustrate the signs of the babblers, drive diviners mad, turn wise men backward, and make their knowledge foolishness. Confirm the word of Your servant, and perform the counsel of Your messengers, raise up our waste places, O God and be exalted. Use everything- good and bad- for Your good purposes on our behalf and for Your glory. In the name of Jesus, Amen."
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