Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Preparing for Easter

Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, is this Sunday. In preparation, I made a shopping list with my preschooler today: eggs, baskets, dresses, dinner items. We’re preparing to celebrate around here!

But I’m also preparing my heart.

Some of my friends and family prepare by watching The Passion of the Christ DVD. Some plan to attend the Good Friday services. (We’re having one this at our church. First time I can remember us doing this. I’m very excited!)

If we don’t prepare our hearts, Easter could slip by (even if we attend church) without our hearts truly being impacted by the amazing gift Jesus gave us when He gave us Himself. The amazing sacrifice He made when He willingly went to the cross and died in our place.

I urge you to take some time this week, some extended devotional moments, and really contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death. Consider His age. Consider His heart toward His people (John’s Gospel is beautiful for this). Consider His courage. Consider His humanity. Consider His intimacy with the Father, that He openly expressed His desires while accepting the Father’s desires. Consider the Father’s heart to send Jesus to the cross. Consider Jesus’ love to willingly go and die. Consider salvation. Now we can accept His free gift of forgiveness and become a part of His family.

And consider the victory of His resurrection. He is not in the tomb! He is risen. He was fully dead. He is now fully alive, seated at the right hand of God the Father. He ascended to heaven in His glorified body. He reigns. HE LIVES!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Saying Yes to God: Part One

All last week, God had me on assignment. Say “yes” to Him. Worried about something? Say “yes” to God. Waiting on God’s answer to a need or prayer? Say “yes” to God. Frustrated with waiting? Say “yes” to God.

Know what this exercise did?

** Redirected me from worrying. Yippee!

** Kept me from resenting Him while I wait. (Ugh, hate this about my response to Him.) Good news: saying “yes” to Him retrained and redirected me.

** Made the waiting more bearable.

** Gave me hope in the middle of my circumstances.

** Made me see God differently. In saying “yes” I had to remind myself of His goodness. He’s going to come through for me. He’s going to keep His promises. I can count on Him.

Now, this isn’t the same as saying “yes” to the pressures around me, or even the blessings around me. It’s saying “yes” to God.

God wants us to see Him as He is, not as we think He is. I will not now give you the lowdown on what God is really like, as if I have all the answers. God Himself wants to show us, individually. If we have our eyes open.

Sometimes we don’t want to know. We can control the “God” we’ve invented. We can control the “God” we’ve defined. He’s so unutterably good that He wants to 1) show up in the midst of our insecurities and misunderstanding Him and 2) bless us!

Sunday, during worship, we sang about God speaking to us, about Him unveiling our eyes so we can see Him clearly.

If God blessed us the way we hope He will (promises He’s made to us, special requests) without us really knowing His heart behind the blessing, we’d miss something. We’d miss a relational moment. God wants intimacy. If we can get to know Him while in the midst of trials, we’ll really know Him once through them.

So, in the midst of my saying “yes” to Him lately, I’m asking Him to reveal Himself to me as He is.

And guess what? He’s so much more “good” than I’ve ever imagined. You think you know He’s good? Ask Him to show you again, at a deeper level. He’s going to surprise you. It’s humbling and tenderizing to see His great goodness.

Say it with me now, “Yes, God.”

In a couple of days, I’ll post Part Two of this “yes to God” series.

Monday, March 15, 2010

God's Assignments

There are a million things I need to do today. Stress overwhelms me, if I let it. Clean the house. Tackle the laundry. Rewrites on two manuscripts. Blog x 4. Garden. Cook. Parent. Train the pet. Etc. Time rushes by. Daylight Savings Time throws me for a loop, confirming society's need to rush.

But what does God have for me in this moment? in this day?

Maybe I give in too readily to the pressure of all I see which needs doing. The bully burden stomps up to me, and I willingly accept its yoke.

It's time to reword that opening line: “There are a million things I think I need to do today.”

And it's time to pray--

Lord, what do You have for me to accomplish today? Where should I spend my limited amount of time? What's Your priority?

I'm off to listen for His answer . . . Here's to a satisfying day following the Lord.

Monday, March 8, 2010

God Is For You

Recently, my preschooler looked so worried and insecure, I had to stop everything, make eye contact, and let her know I was for her. I knew how to meet her needs, and I would.

God wants to do the same in your circumstances today.

The LORD is for me, I will not fear; (Psalm 118:6)

Sometimes in the middle of a stressful situation, we forget who’s on our side. Or in this case Who’s on our side.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Our new dog seems intent on proving himself to us over and over. Excitedly running from person to person. Looking up at us as if he needs our acceptance. Now, I don’t know much about doggy psychology. Does the fact than in his short life he’s had two previous homes mean he’s nervous we’ll give him away, too? Perhaps. Wish he would relax and know we accept him. We chose him from the humane society. We already love him.

Do you know you’re accepted? And chosen? God isn’t going to one day give up on you and reject you. He is a good Father, a faithful Husband. And you belong to Him. You don’t have to go out of your way to prove yourself to Him. Just let Him love on you. Know He’s for you. And He will provide for you.

God is for you.