Thursday, January 29, 2009


Ever had someone compliment you and not known what to say? If you say "Thanks" you might sound conceited. If you say "Oh, well, this old thing..." you may seem ungrateful, plus you've stolen the other person's joy in complimenting you.

People thrive under compliments. Boys need to be affirmed by their fathers (or the father figures in their lives). It's a need. Girls need to know they are adored and cherished, capable and beautiful. I think too often authority figures hold back affirmation for fear of encouraging conceit or vanity or pride. So, we've gone in the other direction. We don't affirm people as they're growing and trying new things and wanting to be acknowledged for their efforts. Then, they feel under-valued and taken for granted, or that their efforts don't matter and the people around them could do without them.

Part of character building is knowing what to do with compliments. Pride goes before a fall. So, don't let it go in that direction. But honestly evaluate the comment.

Why is it easier to receive and believe criticism than it is to believe or receive a compliment?

Here's an exercise: Ask God to show you how He feels about you. How He sees you. He's your Creator. He should know. And whatever He says (and I can guarantee, knowing how gracious and merciful He is, His words will be full of life), r e c e i v e His words. Take them in. Write them down. More than likely, he'll take you to a Scripture and confirm what He's saying.

Here's an example from the Bible. In the Song of Solomon (which has literal and figurative meanings), the king pursues a maiden who is not royalty. She doesn't see herself the way her king does. (Think of Jesus with His people, Jesus with you.)

Her estimation:

Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, But my own vineyard I have not kept. (Song of Songs 1:6, NKJV)

"I am dark" -- I'm imperfect or I've failed, so, I'm not lovely (or lovable).

His response:

O My love... Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; you have doves’ eyes. (Song 1:9a, 15, ModernKJV)

A very different response.

Receive His words of life. He is wooing you and showing you who are truly are and what you were meant to be.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Clean Slate

I spent the last half hour looking over the shoulder of one of my daughters as she looked up her grades on line. Lovely letters, those As and Bs for all her work over the past quarter. One of the screens shows a list of missing assignments. Those can bring her grades down. But, the semester ends on Thursday, and all those infractions get cleared. After Friday, she gets a clean slate.

Isn't it great to be forgiven? Like with insurance companies after car accidents. Or bankruptcy. Seven years later, and you get a second chance.

Second chances are awesome. That's how it is with God's forgiveness. He provides a clean slate because Jesus' sacrifice was enough to atone for our sins.

In Jesus, you can start afresh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kari Jobe

I love this woman's ministry. Getting to eavesdrop on her prayers to God through her worship music is beyond delicious, especially when God speaks to and through her to His people.

Her new album is coming out in about three weeks. Check this out:

I highly recommend every album she's been on: Gateway's "Living For You" and/or Throne Room worship or Kari's earlier CDs (see for more info).

Just had to share. Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Do You Really Know?

I swerved all over my lane, right then left and back again. Made me feel better to see the drivers in my rear view mirror doing the same thing. We probably looked inebriated. Well, unless you saw the roads.

The recent snow and ice in our region has left the roads in terrible shape in places. Potholes pock the streets and the usual uneventful drive is now a staccato rhythm of jarring thumps, unless you swerve.

The scenario reminded me not to judge what's happening in someone else's life, especially since I can't possibly know the details. First off, it's rather prideful to assume the role of judge -- as if I have my act together. Secondly, it's foolish. How can I know everything that's going on? Us drivers were avoiding damaging holes; we weren't "under the influence." But to onlookers... one could jump to conclusions.

Be careful about making assumptions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jesus is Welcome Here

She's at it again. :-) My toddler said something like "Jesus is here with us" this morning over breakfast. She's delightfully spiritual in the morning. There I am focused on what to serve, or bringing drinks to the table, and she's being insightful and sweet.

"Yes," I answered. "Jesus is welcome here."

Is Jesus welcome where you are?

During your devotionals, with that list of things to read or the clock ticking away those precious moments alone with God, is your focus on checking something off your checklist, or could you say, "Jesus is welcome here"?

After your devotional time and you dive into your day, whether off to work or onto the next chore, do you leave Jesus behind with sweet thoughts, or do you "take Him with you?" During your day, could you say, "Jesus is welcome here"?

At work, even when you can't play Christian music or speak of Jesus openly, in your thoughts, can you say "Jesus is welcome here"?

When you're watching television, a movie, or surfing the net, can you say, "Jesus is welcome here"?

I'm working on not compartmentalizing. I don't do it because I want to hide some heinous, sinful lifestyle.... In fact, I'm still trying to nail down why I have to remind myself that Jesus is welcome here, every moment.

No matter what time it is, or where you are, can you say, "Jesus is welcome here"?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Jesus is Real in Our House

"Jesus is real in our house," my toddler announced this morning during breakfast. We were waiting for her oatmeal to cool and out of the blue, she shared her thoughts. I love that about little children. Things just come out at random.

So we talked about how Jesus is real, right there with us. A "portrait" of Jesus holding a little girl hangs on her bedroom wall. We've had lots of conversations about how Jesus is with her, guarding her while she sleeps and protecting our family. That's comforting truth when things are calm, but especially when the wind storms come or ice and snow threaten our safety.

It occurred to me last night that if we can nurture intimacy with God before trials arise in our lives, we can face them with deeper assurance. God is with His people either way, but if we have recently fellowshipped with Him, we'll have a deeper sense of peace and assurance. That's what I want for me and for our family. That's what I want for my toddler. For her to know for herself that

Jesus is real in our house.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


How often would you say you're content?

As a child I used to take any given moment and run a sort of systems scan on my body. I didn't grow up unhealthy and most of the time I'd say I wasn't in pain, but for some reason I would analyze if any part of my body was in pain. And usually I could find someplace which wasn't entirely comfortable. Crazy game, huh?

Why do we look for ways to be discontent? Christmastime can especially bring up feelings of wanting things we don't have. And that doesn't have to be limited to material items, it can also relate to relationships. A husband. A wife. Children. Grandchildren. A sister or a brother. Here's the apostle Paul's take on contentment:

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:12)

Ever notice how Paul's statements like the one above leave you wondering how close he was to the end of his life with God before he could say something like that? He seems so mature as you read his "I statements." And then do you wonder how long until you get there? I've gone through seasons where I thought I had this concept conquered. Wow, does life experience and time have a way of humbling a person!

The other application I want to mention for this verse is that Jesus knows how to make us hunger for Him. He created us with a need for Him that nothing else can even attempt to satisfy. So, when we finally figure out to go to Him for that need, and we put action to that understanding, we can begin to experience His infilling. But then something amazing happens. Awakening followed by filling followed by... hunger. Hunger for more of Him. So, in the same instant we're content (thanking God for drawing us closer) but hungry (for more of His presence). What a pattern.

Oftentimes, He'll use the physical state of our being in need or wanting something to show us how much we need Him. And whether we're wealthy and can say "you know, there isn't one thing I don't have that I want" or the opposite--one thing is true.

We all need God. Desperately.