Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Your Style?

Soft. Slow. Simple. Southern. That's my style. That's how I like to share my Savior. How He shows His love for me. Shapes me. Soothes me. So, why in the world would I bring up some slightly off-color topics? Like self denial. And carrying crosses. Surely not the segue you may have been anticipating . I'd much rather discuss something else. Anything else. But that's exactly what Jesus talks about in Mark 8:34b: If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. Deny who? Self. Carry what? A cross. Are you thinking that these are in-your-face-inflammatory words? I agree with you completely. Does Jesus still expect people to deny themselves and to carry a cross? That was just for His disciples way back then. Too difficult. And totally unrealistic for today's woman. Right? I mean, this is serious stuff. After all, a cross is an instrument of death. And I'm way more into satisfying self. And self-centeredness. And selfishness. I'm like. Today's my birthday. Well, it's not. I just want everyone to treat me like it is. Is anybody with me? And you know, while "deny" and "carry" are action verbs, they aren't the most significant words in this verse. The operative words are as follows: If. Anyone. Wants. To. Follow. Me. Jesus doesn't force us to follow Him. He gives us a choice. So, this is the question: Do we really want to follow Him? Because if we do, He will help us to deny ourselves. To take up our cross. To follow Him. Following Him is so much easier when we focus on Him. Not on ourselves. He supplies all that we need. Love. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Power. Wisdom. That's His style. What's yours? Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Truth

"Honey, why do you get all stressed out about this house? Whenever we have company, you clean for days. You rearrange. You buy things. Even when we're not expecting company, you're obsessed with everything being perfect. Why can't you be content with what you have? I don't know you any more!" Obsessed! Perfect! Doesn't know me any more! How can he say that? My husband. The one who knows me best. Loves me the best. Has my best interest in his heart. Always. But his words? Harsh. Hurtful. Fighting words. Truthful words that I need to hear. You see, my man does know me. And he loves me enough to tell me the truth even when I get upset with him about it. Because I do tend to obsess a bit. Get a little dizzy in fact. About my house. And painting. And projects. And perfection. I just love to decorate! Organize. Arrange. But some times I get into it. Way too much. Does that ever happen to you? You begin with a sense of balance and then realize you lost some perspective along the way. I'm glad that we have a God who knows us. He understands that we lose focus. That we get caught up in life. In things. And He loves us so much that He tells us the truth although we don't always want to hear what He has to say. God wants us to know the truth. He wants us to know that He doesn't condemn us for making mistakes. "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). The truth is that because we believe in Christ. We believe that He loves us. Died for us. Was resurrected. Is now preparing a room for us in His Father's house. Will come back for us. There is no condemnation. God knows us best. Loves us best. Tells the truth. Always. No condemnation. Sometimes truth hurts. Sometimes not. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, September 12, 2009

She Writes

She writes. Quite articulate. An agnostic. She has come out of the closet actually. And explains why. Got bored with church during her teenage years. She doesn't need religion. Not then. Not now. Not ever. She refers to God as the "G" word. But she loves Christmas. And she breaks my heart. She equates God with religion. With rules. With regulations. How boring is that? Very. And that's so not God. God is in to the relationship thing. With me. You. Her. He's interested in us. Every aspect of our lives. He knows when we stand up. Sit down. Go out. Come back in. He records each time that we cry. Puts our tears in a bottle. There's nothing about us that He considers insignificant. Or inconsequential. He loves us so much that He stoops to make us great. When we pray, He moves heaven and earth to answer. He loves us with a love that we barely begin to comprehend. His love. Captivates. Compels. Convicts. His love. Perfect. Never disappoints. Never disparages. Never diminishes. Even when we don't believe. That He exists. That He is good. That we need Him. Even when we close our minds to Him. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Even when we refuse to acknowledge His good news. He loves us. So much that He sent Jesus Christ. His Son. To die for us. Because we are sinners. And we need a Savior. We need salvation. We need someone to love us. The way that only God can love. Abba. Our loving God. Our living God. Open our minds and hearts to the gospel of Your Son. To His goodness. To His glory. Your Son has overcome the evil one. Protect us by the power that is in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Protect us from the evil one. Separate us by Your truth; Your word is truth. I pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ. The One who died to give us truth. And life. I love you. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Savoir vivre!

Recently, I realized that I need more savoir vivre (sa'vwar ve're). Say what? Yeah, I need more of that stuff. Come on. Say it out loud with me: savoir vivre. Don't you love the way it sounds? So sophisticated. So se_y. So French. And it's.... No. Not lingerie. Not wine. Not cuisine. Savoir vivre is simply: knowing how to live. Like with enjoyment. Meeting every situation with poise. Good manners. And elegance. That's the word's denotative/dictionary meaning. But what shakes me up is the connotative meaning. How a word is actually used/the feelings associated with the word. The connnotation of savoir vivre? To live intentionally. So, are you beginning to see why I need some more savoir vivre? I want to know how to live. How to face all situations. How to live with intent and with purpose. Most of us have that same desire. We want joy. Grace. Elegance. In every situation. But the reality is that we often overextend ourselves. Our schedules. And our strength. In an attempt to live each moment to the max. Is it really possible to live life well? Yes, intentional living lies within our reach. If we make the right choices. Jesus Christ knew exactly what living to the full extent means. And He shows us how: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed" (Mark 1:35). I love this verse. This picture. Of Him. The Son of Man. Son of God. Arising before daylight. Leaving everyone. Everything. Behind. Going to a place. To be alone with God, His Father. To talk. To listen. Wanting to hear His Father's voice before He heard any other. Christ's first choice was to spend time with God in prayer. Before He preached to the lost. Healed the sick. Made the blind to see. The lame to walk. Cast out demons. Forgave sins. Jesus chose His Father. What's our first choice? Do we savor the status quo of our lives too much to change? Or will we go to Him? To a solitary place. And give Him all that we've got. Our busyness. Our brokenness. Our bankrupt hearts. When we go to God, He gives us strength. Joy. Peace. Grace. He forgives us of our sins. He equips us so that we can face all situations. He transforms us through His word. That's how He teaches us to live life well. Our Savior knows the true meaning of savoir vivre! Sweet dreams, Deb