Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Love Revolution

Today several students and I handed out the care packages that everyone helped put together on Monday. Man, I love doing that stuff. It is such a blessing to help God bless others. We delivered popcorn to all the houses on our street down to the stop sign, and then we had lots left over! So we went to Cherry Hall to give away bags to pedestrians. I never knew how hard it could be to give away popcorn and kool-aid. I guess now I know what God feels like when He is trying to give away His heart. He just wants to bless us, and sometimes we say “No Thanks.”

But then I think about everyone who accepted our gift, and the look of surprise on their faces. Some asked us why we were doing this. They seemed really shocked when we simply told them God loved them and we really just wanted to provide them with a study break during finals. I pray that someone was blessed in a special way.

You know, that’s the thing about God. I think about the parable of the sower. If I were sowing seed, I would only throw it on good soil, so I would know my efforts weren’t wasted. But not God. Knowing there will only be a 25% success rate, He throws seed everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE: the road, the thorns, the rocks, places where that poor seed doesn’t even have a chance!

Yet there is always a deeper, more significant truth to God’s stories. God shares His blessings with us with reckless abandon. Every little opportunity to show us His love, He gives, whether we notice or not, whether we receive it or turn up our noses. He sends little love notes in every way possible. When I step outside on a spring day in Bowling Green, I feel it the most: sun gently warming my cheeks, soft wind mussing my hair, the sweet smell of flowers making everything nice.

What love notes has God given you lately? Are there some that you might have missed? I pray that in these next couple of weeks (especially next week during finals) God will give you the special grace to see every little way He is trying to love on you, and also that you will be blessed extravagantly because of it.

Our Lord loves you so much. I can’t say it enough. You are a masterpiece creation in His eyes. You are precious beyond your wildest imagination to Him. Somehow, when we realize the beautiful truth of who we are to Him, it changes everything.

Here’s to the revolution of God’s love.



Thursday, April 22, 2004

Spiritual Virus Protection

God really got my attention today in my quiet time. I was spending time with Psalm 19:12-13: “But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” What caught my eye was the note in verse 13 which indicates that “from the insolent” may be read “from proud thoughts.” So I went back and read it with the new phrasing. Check this out:

But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from proud thoughts; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

Amazing how two simple words change the meaning of the whole thing, huh? I think proud thoughts are the most hidden kind. We are least likely to think we are being obstinate at the times when we are being most obstinate. Being dominated by the need to always assert one’s rightness sure can get us into all kinds of messes. We can even turn our good living into something yucky when we start to get proud of ourselves, patting ourselves on the back for our own good behavior. I love the way David takes the time in this Psalm to ask God to do for him what he cannot do for himself, see where the hidden hang-ups are. It’s like initiating our own spiritual virus protection program. It’s a virus scan of the soul.

And the Holy Spirit is so much more thorough than Norton or McAffee or whatever thing you use for your computer system. While it can be painful to see what the light of the Lord uncovers, being made clean is as painless as quarantining and eliminating bugs from our computers. It is as simple as admitting to our Lord Jesus that the blemish His loving eyes have found in our character really does exist, and we need His help to get rid of it. And He does. We are forgiven, no questions asked, the moment we request His forgiveness to clean up our previously unseen sins and faults. We are made clean and beautiful once again. What is painful is when we never allow the loving eyes of Jesus to show us where the problems are. Then it is like those worms from the internet that can strike when we are most unprepared, wrecking our whole system.

I want to invite you to join me in making this prayer our own: Sweet Lord Jesus, show me where the hidden errors are; forgive me, cleanse me, and live in me more and more. Amen.

Hope you have a great rest of the week and a wonderful weekend. Y’all are such a blessing from the Lord.

Much love,


Thursday, April 08, 2004

Remember Who You Are

In the crunch and rush it can be so easy to lose yourself. I often find this is true when I am driving. I will be rushing here and there, saying things under my breath when someone cuts me off that I shouldn’t. Sound familiar? By the time I am completely stressed out, I take a mental and spiritual look in the mirror. The person I want to be is often unrecognizable from the harried, crazy, very cranky woman staring back at me. (Of course, maybe that’s just pregnancy hormones.)

Does this experience sound familiar right about now? In the midst of the stress of deadlines and looming exams, I want to encourage you to remember you are more than just someone who produces academic output for someone else’s perusal. You are a child of God. And those sweet Heavenly Hands that formed you and gave you life want to embrace you even in this time of stress. Jesus wants to hold you so you can still hold onto the abundance of life He died to give you.

What am I saying? Don’t let this time of deadlines rob you of the who-ness of who you are. Meet your responsibilities, but remember to laugh. Remember to tell jokes. Remember to be a friend. Remember to spend a few moments with God everyday. Remember, you are not your grades. I am not saying stop studying and writing and working. But I am saying remember to say hi to your real self in the midst of the craziness. Do your best, and then offer that into God’s hands.

Sometimes I think of how I allowed my academic ambition to rob me of the joy of living. In the long run, nobody really has cared about anything I did in school (and it wasn’t all that long ago that I was there). Learn, by all means. But don’t forsake learning for the sake of performing. Know that God loves you no matter what your grades. God just loves you. Jesus is crazy about you. When He lives in your heart, the Holy Spirit abides with you. And if you do everything as if for Him, it all falls into place.

By the way, I love you right along with Jesus too. You are all great.



Thursday, April 01, 2004

Little Green Stubs of New Life

Today I saw some baby leaves on a tree for the first time. This tree was in the beginning stages of its buds taking on the new life that spring brings. It always seems to me like a miracle when the bareness of winter is interrupted by the first signs of green. Even on a day that still feels cold, it reminds me of God’s persistence in doing a new thing.

Isn’t life just like that? Sometimes in the midst of the yuckiest, most uncomfortable stuff God is doing a new thing in us that we aren’t even aware of yet. Sometimes, God even requires that yucky, uncomfortable stuff as the raw materials for making the new thing. Kind of like trees. Just when we think they are dead, the palest green snippets of vegetation appear. We even have to rub our eyes to make sure we are seeing correctly. The good news is that winter never lasts forever. This is the good news of Jesus Christ. Those times in our lives that are difficult, distressful, arduous, confusing, defeating, discouraging DO NOT have the last word. Hope always perseveres in revealing itself in our concrete circumstances, even when things seem darkest. We may have given up. . . . on life, on ourselves, on our circumstances, on our hopes, on our dreams, on our future, resigning ourselves to just get used to business as usual. But God never gives up on being God. And when we least expect it, Jesus brings new life to the most desolate places.

So cheer up. You and I have a Savior that goes with us into every moment. In fact, He is already waiting for you in your tomorrows, just as much as He faithfully walks with you today. Oh, you are so precious to Him. So get out your magnifying glasses and look for the little green stubs of new life growing up around you and within you. The redemption of Easter’s promise is drawing near.