Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Hunt

Having an Easter egg hunt this year?  Over 2000 years ago, Salome was a having a different kind of hunt…

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb…

There they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished. He said,…“I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; He’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty.” ~ Mark 16

Are you looking for God? That’s what Mary, Mary and Salome were doing.  They were expecting to find a dead body and instead they found an angel announcing the best news ever: their dear teacher and friend, Jesus, the one whom they witnessed His gruesome death, was alive! 

The empty tomb meant that Jesus was who He said He was: the Messiah, God as well man, the Lord who forgave sins and saves the lost.

And that is the point.  We search for God, but He is already here among us, already alive and waiting for us to turn to Him, return to Him.  He is looking for us and wants to bring us home!

Then Jesus told them a picture-story, saying, “What if one of you had one hundred sheep and you lost one of them? Would you not leave the ninety-nine in the country and go back and look for the one which was lost until you find it?  When you find it, you are happy as you carry it back on your shoulders.  Then you would go to your house and call your friends and neighbors. You would say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I have found my sheep that was lost.’  I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven because of one sinner who is sorry for his sins and turns from them, than for ninety-nine people right with God who do not have sins to be sorry for.” ~ Luke 15

God is not waiting for us to find Him. He is actively searching for us!  God is not searching for perfect people, “churchy” religious types. He is looking for people who know they fall short, of even their own values and feel lost.  God is looking for people who maybe look great on the outside, you know: Facebook-perfect people, but inside they are embarrassed by their own shortcomings. 

God is looking for you this Easter.  Give Him and the angels something to celebrate and come home.  He is waiting and listening to you.  He is only a prayer away. 

Read the complete story written by Jesus' dear friend John here.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dare I Dream a God-Sized Dream?

What would I ask God for in my life if I dared to ask a for a God-sized dream?

I am old enough to hate those questions.  I have pursued my dreams down long dark alleys and decided that sometimes, God has something better than your dream.  Sometimes that is a turn down Humility Lane.  Maybe you know that place?  Where you never get the phone call about the brochures you painstakingly designed and mailed out. Where the boss calls you in the office for bad news. Where your daughter asks "mom, do you love me?" and delivers a bombshell.  Where your husband never decides to change his job with the world's worst schedule. Where you receive that email that says your dream job is on hold.  Where you receive the letter informing you that you are not the successful candidate.  Where the new neighbor say she was hurt because you have ignored her time and time again when she has said hello to you.


Humility Lane is a hurting hateful place.  You never want to end up there.  You never plan to visit.  You keep glancing at your watch to see if it is time to move on yet.  And yet, as I have learned to embrace that grueling stroll down Humility Lane because it turned out to be the Lord's best beauty treatment.  Certainly not on the outside of me!  It adds wrinkles and gray hairs.  But on the inside, where it counts.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1:3-4

I am so grateful for Humility Lane!  I am appalled at how ugly I was before I took these paths.  God has worked in mighty ways to perfect me through these times! (Not that I am perfect--oh no!  But certainly so much better!)  I would not trade them for anything, ANYTHING!  During these times, it seemed at first to me, I asked for a loaf of bread and He gave me a stone.  In the end I realize He gave me a feast!

And yet, I still have these dreams, I do!  I want to return to church work.  There, I've said it!  I want more opportunities to talk about Jesus.  And that's why it has been a great week for me.  I've had that opportunity with several people in several ways.  I love to share it in this way most of all, writing about how Jesus is changing my life, day by day.I love doing Bible study in my home with the special women of Liquid Church.  I loved the impromptu conversations I had with others during the week. I loved writing the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) talk that I will share in April.   I want more.

Part of the problem is, I lack the massive faith needed to pray this prayer again. I have been disappointed.  And then disappointed again.  But Jesus you honored the father who prayed, "I believe, help my unbelief!" and healed his son.  Beloved, I want to serve You in greater ways.  Open the door for effective ministry.  I believe You want to do that for me.  And yet, there is this distrust, this unbelief lurking in my heart.  Truly through, it is not just You I distrust but my own heart, my ambitious, self-righteous heart.  I lack faith and mistrust my own motives.

So take my prayer and continue to filter it through Your perfect wisdom and love for me.  And help my unbelief.

I love You no matter what, and will follow You where-ever You lead me.  But I want this: an open door for effective ministry.  Please, Beloved, open the door for me.

So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. ~ Mark 9 20-27

And yet, I know that at this outpost where I am, I am reaching people who would never visit the church.  I know You have placed me here because You love them.  Help me not to selfishly seek what would please me but embrace the road You have bid me to travel.  Not my will, but Yours.  Make me not what I long to be, but make me into the woman who You want me to be.