Monday, March 18, 2013

last week of lent

This is the last week of lent. How was the Lord's prayer this past week?

Each day this week we'll focus on a Beatitude...walking us to the Passion week. I also wanted to add something to our times with the Lord this week. I don't know about you, but spring has totally come up and arrived. With the adjustment to daylight savings under our belt (was it hard for you as well to loose that hour?! man!) our evenings are lighter and just inviting an after dinner walk. This is a perfect time to also experience the Lord as you are walking. Take in the shades of the scenery around you - in the light of the sunset. It's by far the best lighting of the day. Take pictures on your walk-either mental, or photographed, or if your draw-take a moment to sketch a moment of your walk - slow down and enter into this last week of Lent. Take your walk time to go through the beatitude of the day. Talk through it with your kids as you walk...take the time to memorize it.

Begin each day before your feet even hit the floor and end each day before your light turns off with the Lord's prayer. Just slowly pray it and allow it to begin and end your day. Journal about your time in the beatitude.

Blessings to you as you walk with Jesus this week. May the peace and grace of our Lord and Savior be with you as you journey with him.

Here is a map for the week-this is only a suggestion. You can spend the time in the Beatitudes however you want.

Monday: verse 3-4
Tuesday: verse 5-6
Wednesday: verse 7-8
Thursday: verse 9-10
Friday: verse 11
Sunday: 8-11

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lent day 20-24

We are half way through the Lenten season today. In just 20 more days we will walk a road with Jesus that is full of triumph and then the weight of defeat, despair, humiliation...then victory and freedom!

This week let's begin to journey to the cross with Christ. This journey begins with a passage back from the Old Testament that is a foreshadowing of Easter through Abraham and Issac. Here is the passage. Read this passage for the next few days. Enter into the passage-who are you in the scene? Is it hard for you to be in the scene? What emotions come up for you as you read and re-read the passage each day? Are you angry? Scared? Anxious? Anticipatory? Relieved? Rejoicing?...Take each emotion that comes up in you as you read the passage each day and go to God with it. Talk to him about it and journal your responses, your reactions and prayers.

Then close the day by reading this Psalm. It's a hard Psalm to read and pray about, trust me-I've often avoided it! But as you read Genesis 22, begin to see how this is just a picture of what the next 20 days will be in the life of our Savior-and what God sent his son to do on our behalf...I honestly am left stunned...amazing...humbled...I can feel my defenses coming down...walls being removed...a desire to go to my Lord-my Lord who bore the weight of my sin and conquered it and to trust him to search my heart. When I think about that-then this Psalm doesn't feel so daunting, it's an invitation to trust...surrender...obey.

Genesis 22:1-14

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
“Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” — Genesis 22:1-14 (NIV)

Closing Psalm of each day:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting
Psalm 139:23-24

Peace to you, dear ones.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lent days 13-17

(here is a link to Ryan's sermon in case you want to hear it-this week's is not up yet, but will be soon!)

I was really challenged by Ryan's sermon yesterday and Jill's words to him about not always focusing on the fails in life, but the wins. I often am reminded by Ryan in our home and at the church that we need to celebrate wins as well. So this is where we are going to camp for the week. Let's contemplate together each day where the Lord is at work in our life, our home/family, our church and our community-the "wins" in our life...the moments where there isn't a failure. These are also moments that tie into "But then God..." wouldn't you agree? Isn't that phrase just an invitation to see where God is at work turning something around? Turning mourning into dancing? Turning failure into success in His name? This is the spiritual discipline we'll focus on this week. I have a propensity towards seeing the glass half empty and seeing my failures. Which, as Ryan showed us in that one photo, gives tunnel vision to what the Lord is at work doing. He has been doing so many amazing things in my life, in yours, in our church-let's focus on this this week. This is also a beautiful connection to the Lent season. There is a time to focus on our sin to feel the weight of it as we anticipate the Resurrection of our Lord lifting the weight from our shoulders, however there is also a time to see that the coming of our Lord during advent, and the promise of the Resurrection bringing freedom.

Below is the text from yesterdays sermon when God is speaking to Moses. Read this this week and see how each day something new will arise. Journal what comes up each day. Do you see the power of God in this passage? Do you feel how just as he is for Moses, he is for you? Perhaps you can place yourself in the scene of the passage. Who are you in the scene? What emotions come up for you while you are in the scene? Go to God with all that comes up each day. Peace to you as each day you enter into this passage, and you explore your life this week to see the beauty of success and the wins in your life that the Lord has designed.

Exodus 7:1-7

 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.” 6 So Moses and Aaron did it; as the Lord commanded them, thus they did. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron [a]eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Worship song for the week:
Revelation Song - Kari Jobe

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lent Day 8

I can’t believe it’s already noon and I’ve not posted!  I had the post all ready to put on and then work got crazy!!

Today, as I was watching the sunrise, I was so grateful.  Grateful for the beauty.  It got me thinking that I often find myself very narrow minded and focused on tasks that I forget to look up.  So, if you see any of my recent posts on Facebook lately, you know that I’m in that mode, hard at work starting to make our home beautiful.  This is my creative outlet.  It’s also an expensive one.  So, I’ve really held off for a while because I knew that I just couldn’t do what I wanted to do.  Then we received some amazing gift cards from you all, which began my creative juices flowing!  But then it all stopped.  I didn’t know what to do-which paint to choose-what hardware to choose for the kitchen-should I do the kitchen or paint the rooms-should I keep the walls white like an art gallery to let the color come from other things or should I paint the walls-if I paint the kitchen will it start a downward spiral to other things that I want to do but can’t afford………so on and so forth…do you ever spiral like that with things in your mind?  Projects around the house?  Work or friendship issues that need to be resolved or addressed, but you just sort of stay stuck in your seat unable to move forward?

I find that when I get into this place that I also loose sight of the beauty that Christ has given me in even the littlest things.  I actually feel like I’m in a pit...stuck…and can’t get out.  I know that might seem severe, but it’s true.  I actually can’t see the forest for the trees.  The subtle thing in the forest like the scent of the pine or the color of the redwood is something I miss.  The Lord created all the beauty around me for so many purposes, but I wonder if one purpose is for us to see it and marvel at Him, his handiwork, his care that he could have made our world functional, but also made it beautiful.  And he did make it so beautiful!! So full of life that each sensory capacity we have can interact with creation-to move towards our creator.   Now, this doesn’t give me free reign on my house beautification project! But even as I enter into this process of painting, screwing in handles, hanging pictures…having a mindset that this project is a beauty project of sorts.  When I say that I mean that as I paint, sand, labor, arrange…that I enter into this with the Lord.  I allow him to be apart of the process as He is the one who has gifted us with you, who gifted us with gift cards to do projects around our house.  I can rejoice, give thanks to the Lord for his care in placing us at SNC and ask for his care over you as I paint.  I can look at my kitchen knowing that you provided this all for us.  He is using you to bless our home and bring beauty in it.  (Thank you!!! Beyond measure, thank you!)

Today as you continue on in your day and evening, ask the Lord to open your eyes to see his beauty all around you.  Take it in-through each sensory capacity he has given you.  How can you give thanks to the Lord today for each little thing he’s given you? Perhaps it’s many things.  Perhaps you are in a place where you can only really see one thing.  That’s okay.  It’s a discipline-to open your eyes to see his work around you-for you-pursuing you.  Orient your mind towards this and give him praise today.

Lent day 9

Recently I had been walking through a very difficult season in my walk with the Lord. I couldn't go to him without feeling the deep shame of my sin. It was, for me, quite a dark time. One that I had not experienced really ever in my journey with Christ. I've definitely had times where I was aware of my sin, but I knew the love of my Lord was present and accessible. I had an awareness of my freedom in Him. Not in this past season. It's really been about two to three weeks now that I've felt his freedom...his never ending love for me again. FOR ME! nothing I can do can separate me from him. He doesn't abandon me-no matter what I've done or the distance I place between us. I wonder if you have ever felt in a place of feeling distant from Christ?

This morning as I was reading through a few of my lent resources, I read this excerpt from Henri Nouwen's books "The inner voice of Love: A Journey through anguish to Freedom" and was blow away about how relevant it was to my current journey. Should I be blown away? When His mercies are new every morning, just like his breathtaking sunrise I'm looking at through my office window as I write this? He knows me. He knows you. He knows your joy, your sorrow, your anxiety, your path. Nothing escapes him. Nothing phases him. He loves you and sees you as his child. This is why he sent his Son to die and come back to life-to save us from sin. He bore my sin and shame on that cross. This is why we observe these 40 days before Easter-to walk where He walked. To journey with him to the cross. Below I'll share what I read from Nouwen's book and i'll also share a prayer and action to actively engage in as we walk with Christ to the cross. Peace be with you, dear family.

Jesus...told people not to be guided by the behavior of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus came among us as an equal, a brother...

You will not be able to meet Jesus in your body while your body remains full of doubts and fears. Jesus came to free you from those bonds and so create in you a space where you can be with him...

Do not despair, thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years. Simply enter into the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you. you cannot make yourself different. Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body. Let him transform you by his love...


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Romans 8:28-32


Lord-let me recognize in myself the pride and false piety of one who will not admit of the imperfections of being human. Temper my doubts and fears, restore my commitment to your ways. Keep before me your promise of a new heart and a new spirit; prompt me along the path to this transformation in love and conformation to your image. Amen


Take time today to be alone and aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life. See where he has brought you from, and think about where he is at work currently in your life. Journal what comes up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lent Day 7

How was your long weekend? How was contemplating that soon and very soon, our Savior is coming? What thoughts came up for you during this time?

Today's devotional is from "Lent & Easter, Henri Nouwen" Day 7.

Abandonment To God's Will

This morning during my hour of prayer, I tried to come to some level of abandonment to my heavenly Father. It was a hard struggle since so much in me wants to do my will, realize my plans, organize my future, and make my decisions. Still, I know that true joy comes from letting God love me the way God wants, whether it is through illness or health, failure or success, poverty or wealth, rejection or praise. It is hard for me to say, " I shall gratefully accept everything, Lord, that pleases you. Let your will be done. " But I know that when I truly believe my Father is pure love, it will become increasingly possible to say these words from the heart.

Abide in God's will - Scripture Meditation

Beloved...Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world - the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of riches - comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and it's desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.

I John 2:7, 15-17

by Charles de Foucauld

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself into your hands,
without reserve and with boundless confidence
For you are my Father. Amen.


Instead of refusing to accept God's will, especially when it is harsh, say, "Thy will be done!" Give yourself over to unbounded acceptance of the plan that has been mapped out for you by God.

Worship song for your day:
Fernando Ortega - Jesus Paid it All

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lent day 3-5

Good morning. What a beautiful sunrise we had!!

I know that the last couple of days the devotionals have been on the contemplative, focusing on sacrifice, surrender, looking inward at our "almosts". This morning I want to focus on the beauty of this season of Lent. It is a hard, difficult and solemn season indeed. I know that as I focus on my sin, the almosts in my life, where we could be if I had only...we had only...what if we had made that decision instead of the that one...I can begin to spiral down into shame. Christ sent his Son to bring us freedom from shame & guilt. I know you have heard me say this before-but I'll say it again because I know I always need to be reminded of this. His love is never ending...nothing we can do can separate us from him and his love for us. I am astounded by this. This is what I want to focus on today and this weekend (i'll post again on Monday).

Read, re-read, journal, re-read, journal...(get the idea for your weekend?!) Then re-read at night...Romans ch. 8. Allow Paul's words to us to wash away the voice, "I almost..." and watch how the Lord comes in and says, "But then God did this....God showed up here..." Write about, pray about where God has come in and turned your almosts into dust and revealed his never ending love for you.

Then, whenever you feel led, or perhaps in the evening as you settle into bed, listen to this song by Hillsong United. Our Savior is here, he has come, but soon and very soon he'll be robbed of his dignity...but then God shows up...and we'll be with the one we love for all eternity because he came, took the weight of the world, the weight of sin on his shoulders...and conquered death. Soon and very soon our King is coming...our sin and shame erased by his blood.

Peace to you this weekend.

Romans 8.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, [b]weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of [c]sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [d]alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [e]through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you [f]must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery [g]leading to fear again, but you have received [h]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, [i]in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Our Victory in Christ
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the [j]saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that [k]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was [l]raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of [m]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Soon, Brooke Fraser - Hillsong United

Soon and very soon
My King is coming
Robed in righteousness
And crowned with love
When I see Him
I shall be made like Him
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
I'll be going To the place
He has prepared for me
There my sin erased
My shame forgotten
Soon and very soon

I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I'll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
See the procession
The angels and the elders
'Round the throne At His feet I
'll lay my crowns My worship
Soon and very soon

Though I have not seen Him
My heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ the Lamb
The Lord of heaven