Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lavishly Loved

1 John 3:1 New International Version (NIV) 3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, 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. 

When I think about the word lavish,a beautiful princess comes to mind. Dressed in a beautiful dress, hair perfect. She's surrounded by a staff who takes care of her every need. Lavishly loved.

Most days I don't feel like a princess.  There is no staff, and it seems I pour more of me out than I get put back in.  

Friday was a road trip day. I was on my way to the doctor for a procedure and a test...and a nervous wreck.  The weather was gloomy, drizzly and gray.  The results of the test had been consuming me for weeks.  We had been dealing with vehicle issues.  Several other things weighed heavy on my mind.  I felt completely overwhelmed.

As I topped the hill, there was a moment of sunshine and I began to smile.  In the midst of the gray and gloom, God send me a ray of sunshine as a reminder he is still there.  As I drove on toward my destination, he brought to mind one after the other the great things he has done in my life. 

Sure, there are looming test results, but he has restored my balance in a way that is just simply amazing.  One by one I began to name other things that he has done and prayers he has answered, above and beyond my wildest expectations.

Sunshine warming my face.  Lavishly loved.  I got the concept loud and clear.

My heavenly father loves me enough to not only supply my needs, but he goes above and beyond what I ask or expect.  God didn't just half way wipe away our sins, he lavished us with his greatest possession, his son Jesus Christ, giving us eternal life and a hope for the future.

Our roads are not paved straight and smooth, but even in the times when we feel like the curves and mountains are one on top of the other, we can feel his great love. 

It is so easy to let darkness and doubt consume you.  It is so easy to look at the things in this world that pull and tug at us.  But guess what?  Even in the tough times its just as easy to see the great and wonderful things he has placed in our path, the blessings he has poured out abundantly in our lives...grace and mercy so rich we can't fathom the cost.

Dust off that crown and put it on a head held high.  We are royalty, and we are lavishly loved.

Father, thank you for pouring out over and over your blessings on my life.  Help me to always see your marvelous works even when things aren't exactly perfect in my life.  Thank you for the lavish gift you gave by sending your only precious son to die on the cross for my sins when I didn't deserve it at all. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Biting My Tongue

James 5:9-11

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!  Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Have you ever dropped a spot of something on the carpet and then went to clean it up?  If you don't do it correctly, you start to rub, and the more you rub, the bigger the mess becomes. 

Sometimes being around people is hard.  It is inevitable when you put people of different backgrounds together you are going to have disagreements.  We get our feelings hurt, or we see things going on that just simply shouldn't be.  It is really easy to continue to rub at the spot and create a huge mess of feelings.  Some may be legitimate, some not, all become hurtful.

My mind has rubbed around some things the past week and created a mess that has been wearing on me physically and spiritually.

James 5 paints the attitude we should have in the face of adversity, when we face those people who just aren't that easy to handle.  Instead of judging and grumbling, and stirring the mess, we should set the example of patience. 

Even though we are saved by grace, we fight the battles of this world every day.  Our flesh longs to fight with the weapons of the strike out in anger and bitterness.  How we fight the fight matters.  I love the advice given to us here:

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 The Message (MSG)

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

Lord help me to have an attitude of obedience and of mercy in the face of my enemies.  Teach me to know when to hold my tongue, and when to use it for your good.  Help me to see past the manipulative barriers of Satan and seek truth.