When your cup of sacrifice feels like it’s overflowing

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Sometimes it seems like your cup of sacrifice is overflowing. You want to hold your hand tightly over the cup, never mind that it’s spilling down your arm. You want to say, “When….when……enough already! Those who are caregivers, feel this. They live it daily. I see it. Everyday I see a daughter’s love overflow in terms of sacrifice. In terms of love that hurts.

I see the Walgreen’s bag and I think all these thoughts. I think that most people don’t know the backstory, but God does. He always does. I take the Lay’s potato chips and the Snickers and the coke and put them in their places until her next visit to her Mom in Room 8.

I see that bag and think of all it represents…….I think of about 100 bags just like that over the past two years since her Mom has been in the Alzheimer’s facility and I think of all the in-between years leading up to it. A best friend knows.

The back story. We all have one. Hers was a difficult childhood. I guess you could say that her Mom was pretty much emotionally and many times physically not available. Chicken-scratch poor and married at 17, she was ill-equipped for parenting. She says, “Mom did the best she knew how.” But when best is sorely lacking you grow up with some scars.

You see, her Mom didn’t deal in emotion. You learn early not to cry, to stifle emotion when you’re told “Crying never solves anything.” So you bury, and submerge, and try harder to not mess up, since everything you do is watched with a critical eye and nothing you do ever seems to measure up.

When all the good you do is passed over and the one mistake is brought out into the limelight, you learn to keep trying for that golden ticket of praise that never comes.

But that didn’t put a damper on the bright spark of your personality. Living with a mean brother meant there was always chaos. Yelling and screaming were the norm. It was a fight or flight existence. So you went out and got to know all the neighbors. Did their lawns almost from the time you could walk.

And all along, you dreamed of somewhere quiet, somewhere safe. A refuge to call your own.

Later in life you stepped in front of your older brother when he thought it was okay to start beating his wife and kids, and even his own Mother. You took the blows for that, then your Mom got mad because she couldn’t understand why you didn’t want to pick him up from jail.

When you were 17, before you graduated, they left for overseas and didn’t come back for 13 years. You took care of the bills and the house and the yard, and then got kicked out when your Mom said you had to make way for abusive brother and new wife to move in. After all, he had a family.

You moved into the condo they left trashed and then he had the nerve to ask for rent.

And then there was the money your folks borrowed for the house you both lived in, the settlement money from the terrible accident that broke your back. After the house was sold you never saw that money.

For years you walked around with all that past, until the day you went to that river and held it under along with a lot of other things. You finally found that quiet place of peace in the person of Jesus. Your Mom was there and your Dad too, wondering why anyone would be crazy enough to be baptized in a river. But they were there.

All these years later, I watch you give your Mom back her dignity day after day. You replace incorrectly matched shoes, and 2 extra pair of underwear. You cut her hair and nails.

You learned a long time ago that the best way to heal is by making peace with the past.

Please know this. This post of mine is by no means meant to downgrade or disrespect your Mom, in fact, the opposite is true. For in light of everything else, there is one very important thing which she did incredibly right. She had you.

She had you even when they recommended an abortion. She had you, even though she was sick and they gave her those terrible drugs, even with all the risk,  she still said yes to having you, to giving you life. And for that, I will be eternally grateful; for that she gets my praise.

As your best friend for 26 years now, I stand in awe and amazement at how you have lived your life all these years. How you have lived out your faith by taking care of your family and putting yourself last too many times to count.

I watched as you sacrificed by taking a lower paying job so you could be nearer your Mom and have more time to take care of her. You took that job and made it into a ministry of love for the kids you drive to school every day.

So this is for you Elaine, because you never give yourself credit, I will. It’s what best friends are for.

I dedicate this post to sacrifice in all its many forms. We have a duty, those of us who write, to tell the back stories. All those who died 14 years ago today had back stories too, and we must keep those stories alive for their children and grandchildren and all of us who remain. And to Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price so that we all might live.

The story God longs to write

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“Jesus watches us”……. that’s the line that jumped out of my Dad’s letter to me.

There is a story God longs to write on your heart. You may not know it, but your very own life has an BC and an AD attached to it. God has thrown the invitation out and is waiting for you to accept. Salvation is the modern-day miracle of our times. Our redemption story is the single most valuable thing we can offer to a world waiting for hope. A changed life is the single most powerful testimony of God’s glory here on earth. You say miracles don’t happen? Look in the mirror. If you are a Christ follower today, you are a miracle.

As I was sitting in my “prayer chair” this morning I started thinking about the changed lives in my own little circle and then I looked back on my own life and I had to go from sitting to kneeling in a hurry. What grace has touched my life. At the age of somewhere around 13 or 14 I felt the Holy Spirit’s tug and I knew it was a decision I couldn’t put off. Where did that come from? I can still remember the night of my Baptism, the pastor in waders, me looking out to the crowd and giving my profession of faith……taking my place quietly after it was over, wet head and all. And the years after……when He pulled me back from the brink, delivering me from anorexia with that one dream and how the very next morning I ate food again. It was scrambled eggs and we were all crying, Mom and Dad and I.

And I remember Elaine when we first met and how she asked me how I could be so hopeful when she knew my husband had just died. Her life had started out in church but she had left that behind, as many of us do. Her path was diverted and for a while she wandered, but God was waiting to finish His story on her heart; He remembered that little white-haired girl with the flouncy skirts, sitting in her Uncle’s church in the front row requesting songs while her Aunt played “I’ll Fly Away.”

She left a whole life behind when she came to our town, and I never realized at the time how hard that probably was. She was baptized in a river, which her parents thought was crazy, but they were there anyway. And on the way home that night we ran over a carpet on the freeway. To this day we still laugh about it, how it caught under the car smoldering and it was like a Chinese fire drill, everyone bailing out to dislodge it.

I think of my Mom who was raised in church but didn’t know Jesus until around the age of around 35 or 40. When she met Him her life changed forever. Before, she worried about everything and had two bleeding ulcers to prove it. After, she was healed, body mind and spirit. She has impacted many lives by stepping out in faith, introducing herself to strangers and inviting them to Bible studies too many to count over the years.

And my Dad and brother have their own redemption stories too, no less miraculous. My Dad met Jesus in a church he didn’t particularly like……but Jesus is like that, He can show up anywhere. My brother wasn’t too keen on that church either, but on Easter Sunday 1982 he walked down the aisle as I sang in the choir.

My brother’s wife miraculously met Jesus after someone invited her to a play about Heaven and hell. Not long after she went through her own personal hell of chemo and cancer. She gave it all she had, but it wasn’t enough and my brother’s love big as it was couldn’t hold her here either. In that battle, it was Jesus love that broke through in the midst of her pain and said, “I’ll take it and you.” She died with a smile on her face and sings today with the angels.

The heart-breaking truth is: Sometimes the prayers for healing aren’t answered and no one knows why, but the important thing is, we know Who she’s with right now.

The single most important event in your life has either taken place or is waiting to take place.

It’s just three words, “Yes, I believe.” Someone is waiting to hear your redemption story today……….Like the eunuch, they are ready to say yes, they just need the right Someone to put their hope and trust in.

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:26-39

No Wiggle Room in the Beatitudes

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Yesterday I wrote a post. It was after I had read something that fired me up a little. But after I posted it, it didn’t feel quite right. I felt a bit unsettled the rest of the day. And a friend’s comment made me think, (Thank you Mark). Sometimes we get off track a little because we just want to say what we want to say. And sometimes all it takes is a thoughtful nudge to get us going in the right direction again.

I have since taken the post down, but the gist of it was that I didn’t think we had an obligation to pray for our leaders when they are corrupt. Rethinking that position, I think that maybe we need to pray for them even more. The reason why is because when we do that? We get fresh healing ourselves.

So today, I go back to those crowds and that dusty road where Jesus walked in the middle of the throng, and I imagine myself as the woman pressing against Him reaching for the hem of His garment. You see, she had no illusions. She knew she needed healing. Sometimes I forget I still need it to.

This morning as I leafed through the pages of my big old marked up red Bible, the one I reach for when I need to remember when it was all so exciting and new; and I heard Jesus voice ringing through the hillsides when He preached that famous sermon on the mount known as the Beattidudes.  And surprise, surprise……I found no wiggle room there when it comes to love and forgiveness. No wonder those words seemed so radical back then. They still do.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew5:43-45

Even Isis, Lord? Even those who might seek to do me or my family harm? Even those who misunderstand what I am trying to say, who misinterpret and twist my words? Even someone who might even kill someone I love? Even them?

The answer is always the same. Yes. We are called to love and forgive. Anything and everything. Because He did.

He forgave me everything, and He intercedes for me even up to this very day, and pours fresh grace into my life, even when I make bad choices. He has filled me with His Holy Spirit who enables me to do the impossible. I think of the laundry list of things I have neglected to do for Him, times I have turned the other way when someone who glanced my direction may have really needed a kind word.

All the things I said I would do tomorrow.

I am humbled afresh today. I think it’s possible to stand down for peace even while holding up your convictions. The Beatitudes have taught me again how far I have to go in that direction.

Holding onto His hem today……….all I need is one touch.

Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples. And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.”……Matthew 9:19-21

The Art of Resting

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There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

This morning I have been reflecting on just what it means to have a “Sabbath rest.” Jesus did many “works” of healing on the Sabbath. He also walked many miles on Sabbath days. He didn’t follow the traditional Jewish Shabbat of not lifting a finger and he was sharply criticized for not “honoring” it the way the Jewish religious community thought He should. But honor it He did. Each Sunday, we celebrate all over again that He rose from the dead on that day. I can’t think of a better way to honor the Sabbath.

Each person must decide in their heart how best to do that by looking at the examples found in Scripture. Some people decide not to shop or go to stores. For me, it’s more important that I spend some quiet time reflecting, and resting my mind (and body) thinking about what it all means. To carve out a special day is a Holy thing. It’s a way of saying, “This day is different from all the rest.”

It’s hard sometimes to slow the mind down. Harder for some than others. One way to do this is by refusing to think about the task list I have set up for the next day. Another of my favorite ways is by taking a walk. When we went on our recent road trip, I took a walk one morning on a meandering path along the beach. All along the way, someone had left some memorial stones. If I had been distracted I might have missed them but I am so glad I didn’t. It was a Holy walk.

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Jesus is, in fact our very own Sabbath rest. Without Him, there is no rest. He is rest personified.

Happy Holy day to you all…….leave your burdens outside the door. Still your mind and know that you are part of a miracle.

The world is outside……many voices clamoring for attention and the headlines all seem to be screaming. But……the Lord of the Sabbath is still here.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Why traditional marriage doesn’t need defending

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I was going to stay silent. I thought maybe my two cents really didn’t matter. But then, I kept getting these thoughts and they weren’t going away. Usually the ones that don’t go away turn into blog posts because I feel it’s the Holy Spirit nudging me to speak. I will start with these thoughts:

Marriage is a perfect institution, made up of imperfect people.

Marriage will never go away on this earth because it was instituted by God in the garden of Eden.

Marriage is Holy.

Marriage is a physical depiction of a deeper spiritual illustration of Christ (the Groom) and the Church (the Bride)

These aren’t my ideas, they come from the Bible. That’s why marriage (and when I say that, I mean the traditional kind) can stand on its on. God started it and God will end it as well.

Jesus answered this question when He was on earth.

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

So, marriage was started by God and it will be ended by God in eternity. End of story.

Marriage has really taken a beating in our modern society. I have heard it mocked, seen it twisted into all sorts of shapes and sizes and kinds. I have heard cynics blast holes in it, and I have seen people ignore it completely. I have heard the argument that it ruins a good relationship. I have seen people scoff at it and roll their eyes over it. I have seen people marry over and over again until it’s just about stripped of any meaning.  

But none of that taints the perfection or the Holiness of the institution itself.

The thing that concerns me the most about this whole debate is what it means for the future of our nation. For I still believe that a nation that supports a healthy view of the traditional family will remain strong, while a nation that loses its moral fiber will perish. (Think of Rome, for instance)

Those of us who don’t recognize the validity or right of two people of the same-sex to marry will be called all sorts of ugly things. I have already seen it. We will be labeled as hateful, bigoted, homophobic, unkind, and intolerant. Not to mention ignorant.

While those who do support it will be painted as loving, tolerant, compassionate, kind and wise.

Both sides will forget to love.

Both sides will forget that we are all in this together.

And with all this talk of love and rainbows floating across the news feeds of America and the world right now, there is really only One great love worth celebrating.

His name is Jesus, and He came to this world to defeat sin and save sinners (of whom I am chief, right along with the Apostle Paul) He was and is love personified. Love with a capital “L.”

He came down here to defeat sin and death forever, and He had to die a terrible and tortuous death meant for you and me in order to do that.

He even went to hell so we would never have to go there because He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him ever again.

That is the Love I am celebrating today and everyday. And everyday, I am grateful and in awe of His great Grace that continues to cover my great sin.

 That’s a Love worth celebrating.

Between Earth and Heaven

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Sometimes, there is a slice taken out of time that lets you see just a little view. Something bigger than the here and now. This afternoon it was a song that rent the sky and let a sliver of light down right in the midst of my day. I was absently thinking why I don’t cry much anymore. It’s not really for lack of things to cry about because everyone I know is going through hard things. I guess it’s because there remain so many things to be thankful for……joy is much more rewarding than the sadness that seems to spring out from every corner these days. There are times to cry, but then you get up and go on. So this afternoon when I heard the lines of the song, it was as if I was hearing an old familiar tune from long ago. Or something I knew all along but needed to be reminded of. Or how I imagine it will be when my folks pass on and I hear a song they loved. That’s what brought the tears. And it wasn’t a bad feeling, it was just the Holy Spirit reminding me He was and is still here. That’s when I heard the words from the song “Shoulders” by For King and Country”

My help comes from You You’re right here, pulling me through You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders Your shoulders My help comes from You You are my rest, my rescue I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders Your shoulders……

Sometimes we just need to be reminded where our help comes from, even though we know it in our hearts and minds and everywhere in between. I felt such a burden right then for everyone I saw around me. As I wheeled my shopping cart down the aisles I saw people just living life picking out items, cereal, bananas, beer, anything and everything that makes their world go round. And as I smiled at the lady in front of me at checkout I noticed that she did smile but it was almost like it pained her. More like a grimace. I wondered what burdens she carried along with her to the store.

Enough ruminating. But the whole experience changed my afternoon and evening. It was touched with Merton, I guess you could say. He said this:

By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
Just when I had this all captured after I got home, I hit a key on WordPress and immediately my whole post disappeared. So I gave up and went outside to sit with the mourning doves out on the deck. One of them, we have been watching has made her nest on top of the block wall. We hope and pray they will be hatched before the infernal heat hits.
I sat as the gray clouds whirled around me and the mosquitoes came out. Tapping out my letters I heard the whirl of hummingbird wings and didn’t dare turn my head, but only my eyes. He went to each section, every side. I scarcely breathed sitting still as a stone. It was another slice of Heaven, a miracle unlooked-for.
A reward at the end of the day. That, is really what we have. Each and every day if we can only see it. And give thanks.

When confusion’s my companion And despair holds me for ransom I will feel no fear I know that You are near When I’m caught deep in the valley With chaos for my company I’ll find my comfort here ‘Cause I know that You are near

You mend what once was shattered And You turn my tears to laughter Your forgiveness is my fortress Oh Your mercy is relentless My help is from You Don’t have to see it to believe it My help is from you Don’t have to see it, ‘cause I know, ‘cause I know it’s true

“Shoulders”

for King and Country

Celebrating our Differences

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Yesterday on Facebook I made a statement and it was something to the effect of, “I am so glad Jesus didn’t try to put us in boxes and say, this is how you need to look to fit into my group.” Instead, He invites us to come just as we are and trust Him enough to let Him reassemble us from the inside out. We, on the other hand, like to section people off. Especially in church. Single people here, Marrieds here, 50 plus over here. It makes us feel safer I think. Maybe it’s easier than trying to figure out where they belong.

But why do we insist on “pigeon-holing” people if Jesus didn’t? When we try to put people in categories we’re comfortable with it only serves to make them feel bad when they don’t fit into the box we try to force them into. Certain men don’t know one tool from another but are made to feel like they have to volunteer for the “Habitat for Humanity” project. Certain women are great architects and designers but are made to feel like their only usefulness is baking cookies or working with children.

Jesus however, accepted people at face value, He approached people of all ages and walks of life; all different talents and abilities.  He was never put off by people’s differences, but rather met them where they were in every instance. The reason He was so effective was because when they looked into His eyes they immediately saw the depth of His compassion, His holiness, His goodness. And by contrast they saw their own sinfulness and inability to save themselves.

He gave them an immediate solution to their “sin problem.” He offered forgiveness, wholeness, reconciliation with a God they had fallen out of love with.

Last weekend I was playing my Brooklyn Tabernacle DVD…….it’s what I always reach for when I want to get a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. I see all those colors, all those ages, all those ethnicities, all those pasts. I see people, men and women in beautiful suits and dresses, all lifting their hands to the Lord because they remember what He brought them out of. Many have been homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Some have been very successful in their careers and made a lot of money.

Some have the tattoos they got before they were saved, some have the tattoos they got after they were.

But the thing we all have in common is that each of us have a unique and beautiful redemption story.

It’s the life story that God records in each of our books. You know those baby books parents make when their kids are born? Well, God has one for you and me. He has kept record of our progress all through the years. And I think maybe He opens it and leafs through it because I know He makes the additions. And I think He smiles.

And when we get to Heaven, folks? I don’t think we will be prepared for what we are going to see. God is going to restore all things. That means every single animal that was part of His original design will be there. Colors we never even thought of and  beauty this world has never seen.

And every time I watch the news and catch myself saying, “Even so come, Lord Jesus?” I breathe a prayer and say, not just yet. There are still people who haven’t heard. Still more souls that need saving.

“No perfect people allowed.”

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I took a sabbatical from church. I really hadn’t intended to, it just worked out that way. I had a church I loved and then the Pastor retired, after that everything seemed to fall apart. It was like a corporate take-over. One service after we got out I asked Elaine, “Did we just go to church?” It felt like speed church, kind of like speed dating. Fifteen minutes and you’re out the door. The new Pastor was perfect, and so was his wife. I remember she had some fabulously expensive red pumps. Their kids looked perfect too. And the services were scripted and programmed, no room for error. No room for the Holy Spirit either.

There was no prayer, no invitation at the end, I felt like God’s Spirit had checked out.

Then we went to another “Mega-church.”  It was a pretty large congregation but we liked what we heard from the pulpit and the Pastor was a really humble regular guy. We were just on the brink of joining and the same thing happened all over again. The Church lost its lease and the building was sold. The Pastor was given a back-seat, and it was another corporate take-over. Signs were changed out front and the whole church was restructured and made over (there was nothing wrong with it the way it was). The first thing I noticed when I walked in were the flat-screens playing a football game. I was disgusted.

After that, we stayed home on Sundays. Sometimes, we went hiking and had church on the mountain. It was really kind of liberating in a way. After about a year though, we knew we had to start another search. Something wasn’t right. Church has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It set the tone for the week. But I still wasn’t ready to go just for the sake of going.

Each day on the way to work I pass this particular church. The sign out front is the first thing I noticed about it. It said, “No perfect people allowed.” I told Elaine, “I think I could probably go there.” We tried it and we liked what we heard, the message was straight out of the Bible, and it was quite possibly the best sermon on “prejudice” I have ever heard. It was a breath of fresh air. There was also a cool-looking woman in funky dress on stage playing an electric violin which I loved.

When the Pastor and his wife served us communion they spoke words of love over us and looked us in the eye. And at the end of the service there were prayer warriors in front at  for anyone who needed it. There was what I had missed. The spoken Word and the Resurrection power of a changed life, and the hopeful probability that you would walk out differently than when you walked in. That’s church.

That’s home.

And it’s good to be back.

Lent Day #42: Inflammatory words

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Jesus has left the desert and started His earthly ministry. He started with His hometown. People were confused, they said, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” They thought they knew this “hometown” boy whom they saw tag along with his father to the job site. But now, this man was a mystery. He entered the Temple and opened the scroll from Isaiah and began to read about Himself:

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,…”

At first they marveled at the authority with which He read the words, as if the very words became real in the air around them, they heard it as they had never heard it before. In fact, they were all in awe. The Bible says their eyes were “fastened on Him.”

But when He uttered the next few words, it all went sour.

“The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Immediately things started to unravel. The crowd was so incensed they rushed him to a nearby cliff and attempted to bodily throw him over. From then on He began to focus His ministry elsewhere.

In addition to the lost sheep of Israel, he focused on the lost and lonely, the sick and the dying, the disenchanted and discouraged, the sinner and the outcast, the women and children. He never turned away anyone with an open heart. He was constantly being misunderstood and questioned by those who should have known better.

You might think this idea of “Redemption” is a one time experience, but how many times since He has redeemed your life have you felt so battered and worn down that you needed it all over again? Every day? Every minute? I have found that the greatest hope that Jesus continues to bring is the power of fresh redemption for each new day.

Take today……..let Him have it. Cup it in your hands like a snow white dove, say a prayer over it and throw it up towards Heaven. Send it to flight and watch it head towards the Son as your heart soars free.

Then do it all over again tomorrow! Watch what happens.

Lent Day 39: “What else can I do?”

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I have just finished the remarkable true life story of Chinese-born Christian Pastor Liu Zhenying or “Brother Yun” as he is more widely known. It’s a story of a life totally surrendered and dedicated to lifting up Jesus no matter what the cost, and the cost was great. It was prison time, it was torture, and days without food, years without his family. But even more than that, it was a story of victory and joy and how God is still very much a God of miracles as displayed by many events in the book.

As I walked back into work after my break, my soul felt buoyant, lighter somehow.  I was remembering a special time in my life when I was a new believer and faith was very simple. I was 14 and I knew my parents couldn’t afford the refrigerator they needed so I told Mom I thought she should tithe her money and we would pray for a new fridge at the same time. She ended up finding one like new for $25.00. I can still see it if I close my eyes, it was big and it was beige and it was a humming miracle.

That refrigerator lasted for years.

There are so many other things to put our trust in here in our modern society. Everything we need is at our fingertips, but when you have great need there is little option but to trust God for your needs. The one thing that impressed me most about Brother Yun was that even under extreme duress and pain, he forgave those even while they were beating him. And he had what I call the “what else can I do” attitude. He was always looking for another opportunity to help those in need, even though his own needs were insurmountable.

Most of us are not under such extreme circumstances and most of us, at least those of us here in America have pretty much all we need and much more. But when we give God our open heart, He will always find plenty of ways we can bless the others around us. 

I’ll use my best friend as an example as I do so many times in this blog. She has one of those “what else can I do” hearts. Always looking to make things better for others. Yesterday, she came home from working and doing errands and I knew she was exhausted. She has been trying to recover from an illness for a month. Even so, she knew that our Canadian neighbors would soon be home and she wanted to do something for them. She went out and trimmed their trees, swept the walk, and drug all their patio furniture out so they could relax in their patio as soon as they got home.

She amazes me.

Now as we come to the 39th day in the desert with Jesus, He is hungry…….and tired……. and at the end of His strength. Satan comes at the very worst time. (Doesn’t he always?) But Jesus is thinking of you and me. And He doesn’t cave in. The angels come to minister to Him. And then He lifts His eyes to the Heavens and asks His Father.

“What else can I do?”