Welcome!

So much of life is waiting. . .

As a Christian, I am waiting for a lot--for God to do His refining work in me, for Jesus to return, for me to GET how much God loves me and for me to see what He is doing . . .

What to do in the meantime? I have learned much about what the Lord is trying to teach me, tell me and show me through the discipline of daily time spent reading the Bible. So often we make this time harder than it has to be.

This blog was born out of wanting to share what God is showing me and wanting to be an example that daily time with God is not a deep or mysterious thing (well, every once in a while it can be), but simply a time to read scripture and note what jumps out at you that day. We don't have to be scholars or super-holy or ministry leaders to do this. Some days I hit the jackpot and others I come up empty--but only by persevering do I give God the space in which to speak and myself the stillness in which to hear and obey.

As of June of 2017, I've now decided to include parts of our adoption journey, which is, so far, yet another chapter of waiting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grace Like Rain

Over and over in the Bible, God uses images from the world around us. However, many of these nature, farming, and pottery images can be hard to relate to for those of us living in suburbia. Today,on my mundane trip home from cleaning the church, God used the St. Louis weather to remind me of His work in my life.

One of my favorite songs is ‪Grace Like Rain‬‏ - YouTube (well, just "Grace Like Rain" without the You Tube, but, hey, I wanted you to hear it if you didn't know it, even though I couldn't find the version I wanted). We sing this song at church, and it always encourages me. So, when I was driving home in a rainstorm this morning, I thought of this song, trying to think about what it really means.

The St. Louis area has not been as dry as many, many areas of the nation, but we have had no rain for several weeks, and blisteringly hot temperatures. When I saw the rain clouds, I was excited. When I heard the first raindrops, I was happy because we so need the water. Soon, however, I noticed that the rain was just running off the streets and not really sinking in because the ground was so dry and the rain was coming down so hard. All this water, but the ground was unable to soak it up at first because it was so hard.

Lightbulb moment! God's grace is like rain. Ephesians 1:7-8a says this:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us. . .
Like the rain that falls from the sky, God's grace has been lavished upon us. However, there are times when my heart has been like the dry, hard ground. All I have wanted is to experience God's grace, but yet when it is poured out again and again on me, my heart has been too closed to receive it, at least at first. Eventually the water soaks in to bring life to the plants and trees. Eventually God's grace penetrates the dryness of my heart.

Sometimes I just have to wait patiently for the Lord's love and grace to soften my heart. Sometimes I have to pray and go to God's Word and obey what it says to keep my heart soft and ready for the rain of His grace.

I'm thankful to the Lord for reminding me that He still speaks through nature and everyday experiences like rain showers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Foundations

I have been mulling over this idea for about two weeks and just now made myself sit down to blog (why be hasty?). I was priveleged to sit in on one session of Beth Moore's revised "Breaking Free" study at The Urban Refuge two Sundays ago while in Minneapolis visiting friends. Two of the Bible verses that she shared really made me think. They were from Judges 6, which begins the story of Gideon. The Midianites are oppressing Israel, and the Lord has called Gideon to defend his people. Gideon receives this call while hiding in a winepress beating out wheat. Gideon's family were Baal worshipers. After Gideon receives his call and accepts it (well, sort of), the Lord gives Gideon these instructions (Judges 6:25-26):
That night the LORD said to him, "Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order..."

The word that sparked my wonderings was the word "stronghold". The word simply means a refuge or a place of security and survival. The Lord often describes Himself as our stronghold (Psalm 9:9, Psalm 18:2, and Psalm 27:1). However, the word can also be used negatively to refer to something that we use as a refuge instead of God--drugs, alcohol, TV, friends, anything. In the context of the "Breaking Free" study, strongholds are usually a bad thing.

One attribute of God that I love and am grateful for is how He can redeem our sin. He directs Gideon to tear down the stronghold of idol worship in his family and then commands him to build an altar to the Lord on top of the very place where such grievous sin occurred. Possibly Gideon used the very wood of the Asherah pole to burn the sacrifice. Similarly, in Beth Moore's life, the stronghold of abuse/sin that was so harmful to her is now the very same platform from which she shares the amazing work of God in her life. On top of idolatry, God built an altar for His glory.

I think the Lord wants to do the same thing in my life and in the lives of all believers. Where we have built altars to self or pride or money or fear or ___________, He wants to demolish the sin and right on top of that shame and ugliness, display His beauty. Wow.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Flip Side

Today my morning was marked by a painful revelation. I've been using the Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" devotional as part of my time with the Lord. This morning she was talking about how it's the Holy Spirit's job to convict and reveal sin, not ours. A verse she used in support of this was Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I have stood on that verse many times when I have felt condemned--after I have sinned, after I have said something stupid, after I have messed up AGAIN. Never have I applied it to my attitude toward someone else. Yes, there is no condemnation for me, but there is also no condemnation for any other believer. Sometimes I want to condemn the action of another Christian, especially if I disagree with it, or, more honestly, especially if it hurt me. Romans 8:1 does not give me that option. My brothers and sisters in Christ, just as I am, are free and clear from ALL condemnation.