march 31

“It’s the truth, isn’t it?” “I’m just being honest!” “I’m just saying what everyone is thinking.” “If I don’t say it, who will?”

These are just a few of the statements I made to my husband when he questioned the nature and attitude of my Facebook posts when I had a personal account. I felt like, as a Christian, I had to shout from the rooftops what I believed, and it didn’t matter who I offended!

One particular post generated some debate on Facebook, which led my husband to quote the following verse:

“But speaking the truth IN LOVE, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15

You see, it DOES matter how people see us. It DOES matter how our words make people feel. I’m certainly not trying to water down the Bible, because I’m still going to shout from the rooftops how great our God is! But I think it’s important that we do it with love. When we do so, we know that we have followed the example that Paul gives us in Ephesians. We can’t go around offending people in the name of Jesus and then wonder why we aren’t reaching souls and touching lives!

I will always struggle with this because my nature is to be honest and bold (strong-willed!). But Jesus in us can give us the words to relay truth without turning people off to the Christ that loves, embraces and forgives.

I debated with God this morning that I wasn’t equipped to write these words, that I’m certainly not holy enough to share these thoughts. And then I turned to 2 Timothy, and read this:

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (3:16)

God is good! And He is able!

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march 30

I’ve heard this song a hundred times in and out of church. But the words didn’t resonate with me until very recently. Does that ever happen to you? You hear the verses, you know the lyrics, but they don’t meet you personally where you are until you’re in need of supernatural strength!

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has caused me to say it is well, it is well with my soul!”

In sorrow or in joy, if we are saved, it is well with our souls! On the outside, we may be a mess. We may be in the midst of great trial or challenge. Or maybe everything is going our way. Regardless of anything, it is well with our souls. Thank you Lord!

march 29

Have you ever been the subject of gossip? Or criticism? Or judgment? Or ridicule? Because of your faith and what you believe? Because of your God, your conversation, your unwillingness to compromise your beliefs, your lack of participation in certain activities that the Bible doesn’t condone? Of course you have!

And the Bible says we should expect it! We WILL be persecuted for our faith, just like Jesus was. Except our persecution looks much different than dying on a cross. We may lose a friend or two. People may laugh at us, or stop inviting us to certain events. We may not be included at work. And all of that is okay! We aren’t supposed to be conformed to this world. We’re supposed to be different! And being different has its rewards, but also its consequences. Let the Lord redeem the situations and our conversations, it’s our job to share our hope and to speak the truth in love!

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear: having good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” – 1 Peter 3:15-17

march 28

Love covers a multitude of sins. Let me say that again: Love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

How many is a multitude? More than a few? A dozen? Hundreds? I can’t say.
What I do know is that we are called to love one another. And forgive them. 70×7 times. (Book of Matthew)

Our love won’t be perfect, but with the Spirit of the Living God dwelling within us, we can love the unlovable (afterall, the Bible says what is it to love those who love you, even the publicans do that) and forgive those who have wronged us.

How can we accept the Lord’s forgiveness yet withhold it from others? Or OURSELVES? (Matthew) We won’t be perfect. Let’s take that off the table. Perfectionism is a lie straight from Satan. But we can be loving toward others, and when we mess up, we can ask for forgiveness. And then grant ourselves the grace that is freely given through Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.

march 27

I apologize that I’m a little late posting today’s devotional. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it. It’s not that my day hasn’t been completely filled with praise and prayer to the Lord. It’s that I don’t have the words to adequately express my thoughts today. I kept thinking of the Bible verse I heard when I was pregnant and on bedrest, and I kept reciting it in my mind even though I didn’t know the reference nor the entire passage. “God can do more than we ask or imagine.” I kept saying this to myself yesterday and this morning.

You see, for quite sometime, doctors have questioned Lincoln’s growth and neurological development. His weight fell off the charts at his 6 month appointment for what is normal. His head circumference has always measured well below average. Milestones weren’t being reached. Social interaction was lacking. We spoke to our doctor about our concerns (and I am NOT one to worry the least bit about health issues, especially Lincoln’s!) and he referred us to a neurodevelopmental specialist.

For those of you who don’t know, the last year of my life (and Lincoln’s life) has been punctuated with health concerns, tests, doctors, hospitals, measurements, failed assessments, and otherwise unknown causes for abnormal symptoms! It’s one thing for my health to be in question. It’s a totally different thing for someone to question my son’s viability or development. I can’t tell you (well, if you’re a mother, you already know) how scary this was.

This morning was Lincoln’s assessment and we met with three women who each had a task to do in evaluating my son’s progress. God allowed these three women to be completely genuine, compassionate and loving. (I actually already knew two of them! It’s so nice to see familiar faces when your anxiety is at an all-time high!) Matt and I prayed this morning that Lincoln would “perform”. This was a hard prayer, because I never want Lincoln to have to “measure up” to anyone’s standards besides God’s. But I knew that, in order to have peace of mind and in order for him to “pass”, Lincoln would have to demonstrate the skills and milestones that a “normal” seven-month old should achieve.

And of course he would. Because miraculously, in the two weeks that we knew we were being referred for further testing, something supernatural happened. The things we were concerned about seemed to vanish. The smiles that were lacking suddenly appeared. He actually spontaneously laughed multiple times during this period! He started babbling and squealing! Today, he passed every single test, overcame every challenge and faced every obstacle. He SHINED! And it has nothing to do with Lincoln, and everything to do with Jesus. Matt and I prayed morning and night, even that he would gain a half-pound by today’s assessment. And guess how much he gained? Exactly a half-pound! That head circumference? Nothing to worry about! The doctor measured mine and Matt’s heads and we measure in the 25%ile. Lincoln is just destined to be a little guy. With a small head. But a big brain!

God, in His awesome sovereignty and love for His children, has found favor with us once again! Not only did Lincoln receive an “A+”, we were told that he is actually ahead of his peers with regard to social interaction, motor skills and every other category! This little guy who has failed every test since he was in utero has achieved and now exceeded doctors’ and therapists’ expectations! God is grand! And this is the collection of verses I claim today:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through FAITH. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have POWER, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses KNOWLEDGE (mine, Matt’s, the doctors!)—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to HIM who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ASK or IMAGINE, according to HIS power that is at work within us, TO HIM BE THE GLORY in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21, emphasis mine)

It honors God when we have faith to believe. It honors Him when we step out and trust Him despite how we may FEEL. It honors Him to ask for miracles. And when He answers, because He WILL, it honors Him when we give Him all the praise and glory forever and ever. Amen.

march 26

Everyone is waiting on something: news, treatment, a diagnosis, a child, a friend, a spouse, redemption, salvation, freedom from circumstances. We’re all waiting!

I don’t know about you, but I have a HARD time waiting. For some things, I have been waiting years for an answer.

It is easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to lose motivation to serve the Lord fully and completely. We may feel like He isn’t listening or worse, that He doesn’t care!

Let me share with you some verses that I have found to be a comfort in my time of waiting:

“The Lord is GOOD unto them that WAIT for Him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lam. 3:25, emphasis mine)

“It is GOOD that a man should both hope and QUIETLY wait for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lam. 3:26, emphasis mine)

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)

And my very favorite that I claimed during a very difficult waiting period in my life:
“And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” (Heb. 6:15)

God’s Word never returns void! These are just a few of the many, many verses about waiting on the Lord. I find that He does a remarkable work in the lives of people who are waiting on Him, as long as they are willing to be used of Him in the meantime.

I pray these verses lift you up in your wait today!

march 25

Last night, I had the song “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham in my mind. At the time that I first heard this song, I was also reading a book about idolatry called “Gods at War” by Kyle Idleman (who also wrote “Not a Fan”). The timing of hearing this song couldn’t have been more perfect, as I was trying to identify and then rid my life of idols. I still struggle, and maybe you do too, even acknowledging what idols I have in place, and I think the lyrics to this song will help us on our journeys to put NOTHING before the Lord, our God.

“Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper.
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister.
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open.
Then read the Word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken.

We must not worship something that’s not even worth it.
Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it.

Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
And anything that I give all my love is an idol.”

It takes real work to identify and rid your life of idols. An idol can literally be anything that takes our focus off of Jesus. We must be proactive (and self-aware!) in order to put, and KEEP, Jesus on the throne of our hearts and minds. I hope these lyrics encourage you today. Better yet, I hope you take 5 minutes and listen to the song. It was life-changing for me!