Monthly Archives: August 2016

Redeemer

“The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:22

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I handed the coupon to the cashier and waited for the thrill of getting three dollars off my purchase. There’s a felt high in seeing the amount due drop. She handed the coupon back to me and pointed out that the coupon wouldn’t be good until the next day. Ugh. I paid and left with a sinking sensation.

Christ stands ready to redeem whatever, whenever we hand it over to him. The life secured with Christ has been exchanged for a new life.

And there’s more. Every mistake and every situation can be turned in for His redemption. He is in the business of recycling disappointments and making something beautiful of them. He is a redeemer.

Being a follower of Christ doesn’t mean we’re perfect or that life doesn’t happen. But in Christ we have a place to turn in life’s disappointments—whatever has happened can be laid at the cross and salvaged by the Lord. He is able to work all things for good.

And once handed over to him, he’ll not hand it back!

Lord, thank you for being my redeemer. I am secured forever with you. I lay the life situations that weigh me down at the cross for your redemption. Amen.

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The empty nest

“And He shall be the stability of your times…” Isaiah 33:6

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We took our youngest to college last week. The looming empty nest is now under foot and a reality to be walked in rather than something to dread. People kept asking if I was ready. How can anyone be ready for what they don’t know?

We were accustomed to a social calendar automatically filled with weekend events and our sons’ friends in and out of the house. Our lives no longer revolve around school activities and sports.

We live away from family, so when our immediate family is not here there’s no family here. Life seems to keep cycling back around to where we were before, back to pre-kid days when close friends became family.

And was the house this quiet before children? An unsettled feeling hangs in the air. I’m reminded of something my mother-in-law used to say: Life is about change and those who adjust to it do the best.

For followers of Christ there is stability through all life’s changes. He was my stability through years of infertility and failed adoptions when we were trying to fill the nest, through a couple decades of the nest spilling over with boys and bandaids, and now, in the once again quiet nest.

He is forever faithful. He has provided good things for me to do and there is hope for my future. I move forward with Him. The winds might howl and these bones might rattle and shake in a nest left empty, but he is my stability.

For I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…” Psalm 138:8


Undeserved protection

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from troubles and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

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“Come see what God did for us,” my husband said. A classic Midwest thunderstorm raged outside—complete with roaring thunder, pounding hail and close lightening. The storm woke both of us in the middle of the night.

I followed him downstairs thinking the damage we were spared couldn’t have been too bad because his voice remained steady. Yet, I was uneasy.

Looking out our downstairs window, I saw our big tree toppled over the street like a fallen giant. It had taken two tall pine trees down with it, and amazingly, they had all fallen away from the house.

After a phone call, the street crew arrived with a bulldozer. They pushed the tree and its debris away from the road and onto the sidewalk.

The next morning we got a closer look at the fallen trees. The angle of the big tree’s break told us it should have hit our house—but it didn’t. Instead, it fell in the opposite direction. I can only imagine the damage that giant tree could have done!

God spared us. The tree was old and we knew it needed to come down. We had even gotten an estimate from a tree removal company, but dragged our feet as we dealt with what we thought were other priorities.

Our gracious God protected our home—and possibly our lives—when we didn’t deserve it.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for protecting us from trouble and granting deliverance in the middle of a Midwest thunderstorm.


The difference maker

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 14:16

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The small country church I attended as a child didn’t have air-conditioning in those early years. Hot summer days and nights found us cooling off with open windows and hand-held paper fans. On one of those fans, I remember a picture of an angelic-looking girl kneeling with hands folded in prayer.

That little girl’s image captures my idea of one who is fully committed: constant in prayer, sinless, unaffected by the world and all while serving others. She’s too much! My life doesn’t match up.

But when the Lord is searching for hearts fully committed to him, as in II Chronicles 14:16, I’d like to be found faithful and don’t want to miss out. I’d like to be in the receiving line for his strength.

Am I going to be skipped over because I fall short of some ideal? He knows I’m not perfect, and no one is, so how can anyone be worthy of receiving anything from him? There is a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

This separation reminds me of the father who pleaded for Jesus to heal his son of an evil spirit—if he could. Jesus told him that everything is possible for the one who believes. “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” Mark 9:24

Jesus healed the son. He made up the difference where the father fell short.

Likewise, he makes up the difference for me. There’s no way I can be a 100% fully-committed all the time. I’m human. But, I know the one who fills the gap.

Lord, strengthen me today and where I fall short, be the difference maker.


When you’d like to give up

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and enables me to stand on the heights.” Psalm 18:33

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Steep inclines and switchbacks can make climbing a challenge. The journey becomes discouraging when there’s no end in sight. If the hike grows difficult, it’s easy to wonder if the view is going to be worth it. And is this even the right trail?

A challenging climb doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path. Hard journeys teach lessons and perspective not gained by taking the easy road. Difficult situations change us. We become stronger. We learn where to stand and how to keep our footing. We discover how to keep going when we can’t see around the next bend, and hopefully, we learn from our mistakes.

The Lord gives guidance in the midst of long and difficult treks. He wants to strengthen us when we’re weak. He longs to encourage when we’d like to sit down and give up. He enables us to stand in places we wouldn’t be able to stand alone.

And maybe that’s the thing. I can’t do it on my own. He enables me to put one foot in front of the other and keep going when I’d like to quit.

And oh, that he would train me to stand on the heights, that I might know his perspective and catch a glimpse of his view.