Saturday, April 29, 2017

Celebration


I hope you celebrated National Tell a Story Day Thursday! It made me think of celebration in general—I hope to give you lots of ways to celebrate this summer! I thought of all the reasons I’ve had to celebrate this month. Our 11th anniversary of moving to Florida and starting Coastline. My daughter’s birthday. Easter. So many days on the calendar that are meaningful. Significant. Markers in my year that say “good things have happened here before!”

Hard things have happened in April, of course. But I don’t see that as a reason to stop celebrating the good. And that’s not because I have that in me, in and of myself. It's because God says in His Word that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). We are told, “Rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4. It doesn’t always make sense to rejoice if you look at our circumstances alone. But our circumstances aren’t what we are rejoicing in. We are rejoicing in God, and He is always good.

And maybe it's precisely because our circumstances aren’t always good that we do celebrate the days that brought us fun memories, fun people, extraordinary changes.


I don’t have anything particular marked on my calendar for April 29. No anniversaries or birthdays or holidays. So I’ll be on the lookout for something praiseworthy today—something I can record and mark and celebrate on all the upcoming April 29th’s. I encourage you to do the same!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

National Tell a Story Day


I read that today is “National Tell A Story Day”. I love it! We are all encouraged to read a story to someone (even libraries get in on the action!), tell a story from our imagination, or tell a story from our lives. What a great day, people!

I love stories of all kinds. I love to hear stories from people’s lives—they give good insight to our friends and family, don’t they? I love the stories in the Bible—real accounts of my spiritual people. I love fiction stories, stories told from someone’s imagination that inspire things in us. Give me a story. I’ll love it.

My daughter and I read the “Christy Miller” series by Robin Jones Gunn while we still lived in Memphis. She was born and raised there and her whole life revolved around that community until she was a week shy of 14. That’s when we moved our family to Florida to follow God’s dream to plant a church on the Space Coast. To make the transition easier, I would remind her of Christy often. “Hey—remember when Christy had to move away from all she loved to the beach? She met new friends, she learned about God, and she met her surfer boy Todd and fell in love? Oh, Chelsea, I just know that is going to happen to you, too.” Inspiration. Hope. Stories are full of them.

(Spoiler: Chelsea did indeed meet her surfer boy. Only his name is Christopher. And in ways I consider strange and fascinating, her life has, in fact, mirrored Christy Miller. Quit telling our future, Ms. Gunn.)

Would you tell a story today? Tell your own story! Tell of the real life fairy tale of Jesus coming to rescue you, the princess in distress. Tell the story of your transformation, of your deliverance, of your forgiveness. Because it's not only fictional stories that inspire and give hope. It's YOUR story that will fan the flame of possibility in someone else.


I think this is a day worth celebrating!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Passionate Commitment.


Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”

I had to pause as I read these verses today. I love verse 6—it’s the promise of Jesus, the Mighty Savior. It’s the promise of the greatest Gift to ever be given—a Son. A Son Who will save and rescue and cleanse and renew. It is so incredible to think that if you—Hey! I’m talking to YOU!—had been the only one Who needed Him, He still would have been given for you. Such love.

I was particularly struck by verse 7 today, though. “The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” The Message puts it like this: “The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.”

How does that make you feel?! The fact that God was so passionately committed to being with you that He made the promise and put His whole self behind that promise. Then He fulfilled that promise. Because of you. Because He loved you so much He would not be separated from you.

As for me, it makes me feel loved and it also makes me feel hopeful. This proves He is for me. If He is so passionately committed to that—to giving His Son—I can’t help but know He is on my side. What a thing—the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is passionately committed to saving me.

And to saving you.

I hope this sinks into our hearts today. I hope we realize that God is not begrudgingly going to help us—He is passionately committed to helping us. He’s not going to love us because He has to—He is passionately committed to loving us. He isn’t in a relationship with us because He is forced to be—He is passionately committed to making that relationship beautiful and holy.

Passionate commitment. That’s what the Lord has for you today, and every day.


Love you all!