Monday, April 23, 2012

Priorities: Reflection on Traffic Accidents

I was driving home from work today when I heard a warning that there was an accident on Mason.  My first thought was, "Ah crap, traffic is going to be awful."  My second thought was probably not my thought at all but rather a gentle nudge from God.  My second thought was, "Why am I grumbling about traffic and considering praying that God will get me home fast instead of praying for the people in the accident?"  It was rather convicting and majorly humbling.  I am focused on myself and my own well being pretty much 99.9% of the time, and I'm fairly certain that the 1% I'm not is when I'm asleep.  Though I know as a fact that I'm not the center of the universe, I act and think as if I believe otherwise.

Do you grumble about traffic because of accidents?  Am I the only one?  My challenge today is that I would pray for God to be with the victims and that He would teach me patience and give me a heart that breaks for others more than it breaks for myself.  Maybe then traffic won't be so stressful, maybe then I'll have a bit more peace.

1 Corinthians 13:4-6
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Love Effect: Jr. High Girls Retreat 2012

Last Thursday, my parents headed off on a trip to France.  This left their beautiful house in Fulshear wide open for me to take the Jr. High Girls on a little retreat this weekend.  We're all a little sleep deprived and, what a shock, I'm a little sunburnt.  Here's some of what happened, picture style.
The weather was gorgeous, but the pool was fairly cold.  Some were brave... 
Other... not so much
Brooke found an awesome craft on Pintrest where you glue crayons to poster board or a canvas and melt it with a hair dryer.  

Abby's creation, not quite done

Beth - I can't figure out how to flip this...

Brooke's boat

Ravyn's curtains

Margo's rain...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who Am I and Great are You: Reflections on the Horizon

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare theglory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Did anyone see the sky this evening?  I just walked out to take the trash and I literally could not take my eyes off of it.  A mesmerizing array of grays and blues and pinks; a picture no artist could really capture.  I was struck, as I quite often am, at the thought that God is an artist, God is the artist.  He didn't just create the world with little thought, He fashioned it with pride and with care, with artistry and precision.  Do you ever think about that?  About how God is the creator of art and science and beauty and all that is good in this world?  

I really needed this sky today.  That may sound weird but I really did.  It was halting, so much so that I quite literally had to stop and stare.  All the stress of my crazy Monday sort of faded as I stood in awe of what God's hands have created.  It reminded me of a song one of my favorite groups sings called Who Am I.  The chorus has a line in it that says "Because I'll never hold a picture of the whole horizon in my view, because I'll never rip the night in two it makes me wonder, who am I and great are You."  
I had to spin to view all that was above me, and even then my view was obstructed and broken up.  It gave me the slightest taste of just how vast and big our God is.  It reminded me that even though I feel somewhat lost and confused right now that He is in control; He has a plan; He is good; and I can trust Him.  

Who am I and great are You.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Early Morning Kitchen Disaster

It's been one of those mornings.  You know the kind; where you're not quite there yet and you end up turning on the wrong burner and melting a plastic bag on it?  Yeah, that kind.  It gave me a good laugh!
Melted plastic...mmmm

Plastic and heat do not mix...apparently I should wait until after drinking my coffee to try cooking.

Monday, April 09, 2012

When God Says "No": Reflection on God's Will

Mark 14:35-36
 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36Abba,[e] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

God always answers prayer.  It’s just that sometimes the answer is “no”.  Very recently I got this answer and it was so not an easy thing to hear.  I can safely say that it broke my heart and I’ve spent the last few days struggling with the mentality that He’s somehow being unfair, that I’m being kicked while I’m down, that everyone else seems to be succeeding while I’m stuck in the marshes.  Add to these thoughts the horrible and depressing thought that I’m just not good enough and that I completely lack any worth whatsoever.

I’ve talked about Satan’s lies before, and these are the kind he most often tends to attack me with; probably because I have this bad habit of listening to them.  I forget to remind myself of the truth God has given me.  The truth that if an earthly father can love his kid enough to know how to give them good gifts then how much more will my perfect heavenly Father give me (Luke 11:13)?  I forget that He gave me the ultimate gift, the gift of His Son.

The verse above hits me deep during this time of disappointment.  It shows that Jesus knew what He was about to suffer, that it was going to be the worst pain imaginable (complete separation from the love of His Father), and it reminds me that God the Father said “no” to His Son.  The Father said “no” to Jesus.  I can’t really wrap my mind around this at all, it’s way to big for my pea, human brain, but that’s what happened.  Moreover, had God the Father answered “yes” and taken the cup from His Son we would have had to drink it ourselves.  It’s wildly humbling, baffling, tragic and yet a victory.

Now, I’m definitely not comparing myself to Christ by any stretch of the imagination, but mediating on the fact that God’s answers always lead to the best outcome is extremely helpful in these circumstances.  Yeah, it still hurts like crazy, and, as a friend said to me this weekend, it really sucks, but I can stand on the faithfulness of God.  One day it won’t suck.  One day I’ll be thanking God on my knees that He said “no” to me, but for now I will continue to pray for faith and direction.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

Luke 24:5b-7
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

Slow we are to listen, slow we are to understand.  Like David holding up the severed head of Goliath Christ came from the cross and the grave holding up the severed head of death, the victor for His people.  Moreover, He took us with him from the cross and the grave to new life to be free of the curse of sin and the law that we might live and walk with Him.  

May we celebrate His resurrection, today, and every day, and strive with the help of His Holy Spirit to break old habits and flee from the death in which we once lived.  

Feliz Pascuas!

Monday, April 02, 2012

God Chases Foolish Things: Reflection on Our Shepherd King

Chasing Song
Now and then these feet just take to wandering
Now and then I prop them up at home
Sometimes I think about the consequences
Sometimes I don't

Well, I realize that falling down ain't graceful
But I thank the Lord that falling's full of grace
Sometimes I take my eyes off Jesus
And you know that's all it takes

Well, I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving

'Cause Job, he chased an answer
The wise men chased the Child
Jacob chased her fourteen years
And he captured Rachel's smile
And Moses chased the Promised Land
Joseph chased a dream
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

Well, they say a race can only have one winner
And you know you've got to pull out front to win
God knows the only time I'm winning
Is when I'm chasing Him

So, I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving

'Cause Samson chased a woman
And he chased the Phillistines
I'm not quite sure what Jonah chased
But I know he caught the sea
And Cain, he chased the harvest
While Abel chased the beasts
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

And Jesus chased the money men
And He chased His Father's will
He chased my sin to Calvary
And He caught it on that hill
And Saul, he chased the Christians
'Til his blindness made him see
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

Isaiah 53:6
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

My heart chases after many things; comfort, pleasure, approval…really anything that will make my life easier and more enjoyable.  I chase things that I believe will give me fulfillment and purpose, things I believe will somehow make me valuable and worthy.  I’m chasing the wind.  I rarely catch the things I chase and when I do I am, inevitably disappointed.  The pleasure is lacking, the comfort temporary, and the acceptance never quite enough.  There’s a reason scripture calls us sheep; we constantly wonder after foolish things. 

God chases after foolish things as well, He chases after us.  The amazing thing to me is that He is our Shepherd, but also became a sheep.  He walked with us as one of us.  He was tempted without sin, beaten without cause, tried without justice, and chased our sin all the way to Calvary. 

This song by Andrew Peterson is one of my favorites and has had me thinking all weekend about it.  The line that has been playing over and over in my head is in the last verse of the song: “And Jesus chased the money men, and He chased His Father’s will, He chased my sin to Calvary and He caught it on that hill.”  The image described is not only humbling but super convicting.  Jesus chased the money men… those who worshiped wealth and swindled their own people in order to stuff their pockets.  I think a lot of times we forget that He went after the wealthy along with the poor, we imagine Him as a sort of Robin Hood who steals from the rich to give to those in need, and forget that he came to show both their spiritual poverty and desperate need for Him.
This week, as Good Friday and Easter approach, let’s mediate on how Christ, our good shepherd, chased us and how He is calling us to chase others for His kingdom.  And may we be eternally thankful that He refused to give up on foolish things.