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30 Days of a Thankful Heart { Days 27, 28, & 29} Moments of Joy, Melodi, and Mom

30 Nov

Let me start by saying I am not thankful for being sick the week after Thanksgiving.  I am especially not grateful that my sweet baby boy has been sick as well.  Horrible cough, fever, congestion, and draining, double ear infection makes for a miserable baby and miserable mommy.

I am however, grateful for access to good healthcare, doctors, and medicine to help alleviate the illness crud that has kept our family sick on and off for almost 3 months!

YUCK!

So, I have fallen a few days behind (again) in my thankful posts.  Let’s catch up, shall we. Continue reading

He is Risen! Day 40

8 Apr

5 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28: 5-7

Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

We no longer wait in anticipation, but we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

The cross is empty.

The grave could not contain him.

He is risen, and because of His grace we are restored!

His free gift of grace, bought and paid by his own blood, is for all.

Celebrate the risen Christ and accept the gift of life.

Alleluia!

I want to share the words from one of the great Christian hymns,

Continue reading

It is Finished: Day 38: Lent Journey

6 Apr

  “Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19: 30

 

 

 

 

 

It is Good Friday; a somber day of remembrance.  We remember Jesus’ death; death on a cross.  We reflect on images of his beating, trial, journey to the cross, and crucifixion. We remember his sacrifice that paved the way for restored relationship with God; paved and paid with his blood.

I want to share three things with you today:

  1. A poem I wrote about Jesus’ death when I was 19
  2. A song that always draws me to the foot of the cross, “Grace Flows Down,” sung by Christy Nockels
  3. The grace available to all because of Jesus’ sacrificial death.   I encourage you to read all of John 19 today and reflect on Jesus’ last day.

Continue reading

Are We Still Greedy?: Day 35: Lent Journey

3 Apr

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.”

-Matthew 21: 12-17

Monday of Holy Week and we find Jesus at the temple courts as the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for Passover.  Just like with major holidays and events today, prices were being raised to turn a profit on the things people needed the most for celebrating or for sacrifice at the temple.  As people came to worship and celebrate they were being taking advantage of by the greed of the money changers and sellers.

This is why we read of Jesus’ anger and of his overturning of the tables and booths.  He was witnessing his Father’s house being turned from a holy place to a place of greed and sin; exploiting those in a time of need.

We then see Jesus turn from his righteous anger and begin to draw the lame, children, and others to him.  As they gathered, he began to heal them.  He was returning the temple to a holy place, a place of love and hope, where needs are met with authentic relationship.

As I reflected on this passage today I struggled a bit with what message I could share.  Often we focus on how Jesus had a right to be angry and this scripture is often referenced when a message on anger is preached.

However, as I read a few reflections on the scripture I began to focus on why Jesus was angry.  What stirred the anger?  Was it just the business taking place in what should have been a holy place?  I think his anger was indeed directed at the greed and the sin he saw.  I also think he was angry about those who were being wronged by this sin and greed, and those who were in need and being overlooked in pursuit of profit.

I wonder what Jesus might think if he took a look at some of our churches today?  Would anger burn within him because people in need are being overlooked due to greed and sin?  Continue reading

Have you Friend Requested Jesus? Day 11:Lent Journey

5 Mar

 

 

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

 

John 15:15 (NIV)

It’s obvious by the sheer amount of social media available today, that people are desperate to connect with each other.  Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or a slew of dating sites, we want to feel connected to others.  This is a part of our created being.  God created us to be in relationship; with others and with Him. As Jon Bon Jovi said, “No man (or woman) is an island.” We are not meant to live life alone. The good news is, our very creator and savior wants to be our friend.

So how do we “friend request” Jesus?  Continue reading

One Step at a Time: Day 8: Lent Journey

1 Mar

 

 

 

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 119:105, Amplified

 

I am a child of the 80’s.  MTV and I were born the same year.  (Cool, right?!) Needless to say, but my focus in the 80’s centered on the kid culture.  I had the original Cabbage Patch Dolls, Teddy Ruxpin, Pound Puppies, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, My Little Ponies, and a Glo-Worm to cuddle up to each night.  I was up early every Saturday to watch my friends, The Smurfs, Thunder Cats, Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, Muppet Babies, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Disney’s The Gummy Bears, Fraggle Rock, and as the decade ended, Saved by the Bell.  I am was a New Kids on the Block fanatic, and my wonderful mother braved a concert with screaming 8 & 9 year old girls in tow when they came to Tulsa, OK.  I made a sign for Jordan and proudly displayed it high above my 4 ft something head.  I was going to marry him.  Guess he didn’t see me?

Image Courtesy of liketotally80's.com

I still have the original green Glo Worm in the back.

Image courtest of liketotally80's.com

Yes, I had the castle too!

I could keep going and allow myself and all to reminisce about jean jackets, puff paint, neon leggings, popped collars, poofed hair, and the rise of the mullet.  However, 80’s fashion trends seem to be creeping back in (really?) so just run on down to the local mall to see for yourself.  We have more important things to illuminate. Continue reading

Heart of Worship: Day 4: My 40 Day Lent Journey

25 Feb

“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

Psalm 100:2, NIV

I love a great time of worship; praising God for all He has done, is doing, and will do.  The writer of Psalm 100 writes about worshiping the Lord with gladness.  What does that mean?  Worship by definition is paying reverent honor and homage to someone or something regarded as sacred.  So we are to give honor or pay homage, or tribute, to God by worshiping Him.  But how?  With offerings or material gifts?  While there is a place and time to give of our material gifts, in this instance and most frequently we should worship God with our thanks, joyful praise, and most importantly our presence.

I’m afraid the word gladness has lost some of its luster over the years.  I’ve heard it uttered and used it myself as a glib remark such as, “Yes, I’m so glad to do that for you.” (Now imagine that being said with tones of sarcasm throughout.)  Even when it is used sincerely, “I am very glad to meet you,” I’m not sure if we fully understand what we are saying.  Gladness is about feeling and expressing joy, pleasure, and delight at something or someone.  It’s more than a nice, fuzzy feeling.  Think about it. When was the last time you used the word glad to define how you felt?  Did you really mean that you were filled with joy and expressing your delight and pleasure?  Or, were you just a shade of happy?  Nothing wrong with that.  I just think that the type of gladness the Psalmist is referring to comes from a place of deep, abiding joy that wells up from our very soul and can’t help but be poured forth from our lips; an overwhelming sense of gratitude for God.

I can only say these things because I have experienced them.  I have substituted shades of happy and tried to convince myself I was glad.  I have entered into a time of worship and brought only feelings of obligation and not joy at the chance to express my gratitude and love to God.

Now, I know that there are seasons in our lives where joy and gladness are much harder to come by, and sometimes completely void from our presence.  I have known those seasons and am aware of their lurking shadows.  Are we to worship in those times as well?  Yes!  It is in those times that we need to worship the most.  God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, no matter the season of our soul.  If we come into worship with a weak smile plastered to our face, yet our soul cries within us, it is our soul that God hears and sees.  We can fool those around us by our outward appearance, but God looks and sees our heart, and He beckons us to come.  Continue reading

Deep Waters Ahead

21 Jun

I’ve been having a lot of dreams involving water lately.  In some of them it is merely raining, pouring in others, and some have involved rapids.  I honestly haven’t thought much about them because nothing has stood out in them other than the H2O content.  They haven’t been bad dreams and nothing exciting has happened.  This is actually unusual for me as I am normally a very eventful dreamer.  Just ask Aaron to recount one of my numerous dreams starring his alter ego, Bad Aaron.

I was doing my daily devotional today over at Crosswalk.com, reading the Girlfriends in God, Women’s Daily Devotional, and God decided to speak up and do some dream interpretation for me.  Great, right?  I’m not sure if I like the interpretation.  This was one of the scriptures I read:

Isaiah 43:2 “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (NLT).

It was like a light bulb clicked on in my head and there was God showing me my recent dreams.  Really?  Why not some rainbows and promises to never “flood” my life again?  Nope.  Apparently there is some lesson I need to learn or some growing I need to do.  Again.  I’m not sure there is a retirement age for these growth sessions.  Write your local pastor if you’d like him to propose a bill to God.  Good thing I live with one!

Okay, so there are some deep waters ahead for me.  I shouldn’t be so surprised.  I did ask God to help me find my shape.  Ask and you shall receive, right?  I guess I better read the fine print next time!  It’s a good thing He also promises to be with us along these difficult journeys.  I was glad to read a few more verses that spoke of these promises.

Psalm 32:8 “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (NLT).

Isaiah 65:24 “I will provide their needs before they ask. I will help them while they are still asking for help” (NLT).

I’m not sure what direction the waters will take me, but I’m sure there will be some times when it reaches over my head and I have to reach out and grab ahold of my Father’s hand if I am to stay afloat.  I’m hoping I do more than tread this water, but that I can dive in and swim the current, getting stronger as I go.

I’m glad I’ve got some good music to listen to along the way.

Song for Saturdays

8 May

Paradigm by All Together Separate

Hope Unshattered

I thought this song is appropriate for where I am currently.  I first heard this song performed by a friend at the Baptist Student Union my sophmore year of college.  The song really hit me hard and spoke some serious truth into my life.  It doesn’t get played often on the radio, but when it does, I always crank it up.

What is a paradigm?  For this song, it refers to a the values, principles, and practices you live your life by.  If you look at what the world judges these things by, it is constantly shifting, adapting, and compromising.  As a Christian, this shouldn’t be what the paradigm of my life looks like.  My touchstone and foundation is rooted in Christ and sharing that love, no matter what the world says in response.  I’ve included the lyrics because I think they need to be seen, not just heard.  Click on the title to watch the video by All Together Separate.

Paradigm

Everybody loves a rose,

But will you be thankful for the thorns?

Love is easy when you’re loved,

But do you curse another when you’re alone?

Chorus

Oh, I give my life to You so I can gain it back again

Oh, I stand solid while the paradigm is shifting

You say live and let live,

But people are dying everyday.

You say what I don’t know won’t hurt me,

But if what I do not know

Is the very thing I need

Then I say,

Chorus

Humanity sees truth through a shattered window pane,

That blocks the view

Plants the seed

So we draw the curtains to a close but I say

That the sun can still shine behind a closed mind

And sticks and stones do hurt

When tossed from the tongue of mankind.

Song for Saturdays: Opening Number

2 May

Hands by Jewel

A jewel and her guitar

(Make sure to watch the video of today’s song at the end!)

I thought I would start the song series off with my two favorites.  Jewel is my absolute favorite artist and she is a constant source of inspiration in my life.  Her songs, lyrics, poetry, books, art, blogs, tweets, videos, and causes all showcase her talent, but more than that, they are glimpses into the soul of someone who sees the good in everyone and everything, and works to make a difference if good is not to be found.  Yes, I am a fan.  I even thank her in my poetry book as being an inspiration!  I have 6th row tickets to an upcoming concert in June and I am so ecstatic to see Jewel in concert again as she promotes her new album, Sweet and Wild.

While I adore most, if not all, of her music, Hands is, well, hands down my favorite.  (I know, but I couldn’t resist!)  The message of the song is so beautiful and very much needed in the world today.  If my life had a theme song, this would be it.  My favorite version, other than live, is on her Christmas album, Joy: A Holiday Collection, while the original is found on her Spirit album, which is my favorite album so far.  I have a desire to sing this at church one day, though it would be a humble version as I cannot even compare my voice to hers.  This song is a powerful reminder that we each have worth and something to offer.  A very timely message for myself.  I hope this makes you feel a little better about this sometimes cruel and unloving world.