Journey 3-30-06

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. Mark 9:14-15

This verse caught my attention this week. Sandwiched between the transfiguration and the child with the demon it would be easy to overlook, but the word “wonder” caught my eye. The people were overwhelmed with wonder when they saw Jesus. It reminded me of a quote, a prayer, that I would like to share with you.

“Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how Your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to the Father through the features of men’s faces. Every day enrapture me with Your marvelous things without number. I ask not to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.”

Rabbi Heschel (Quoted in Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel)

May you see the wonder of the mystery of the love of Christ evident in your life today.

Journey 3-22-06

And because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:4-7

I heard a really wonderful reminder of the great grace of God in a sermon last Sunday. God knew exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes I forget how much God loves me. I forget that He loves me just as I am and that it is not what I can do that makes me precious in His site.

The great mercy and love of God is a mystery that I can not begin to fathom, yet it is a mystery that gives my soul rest. God’s love is so wide and so deep that it follows me to the very end of the earth, from the lowest valley to highest mountain top. His love gives me a reason to sing when I am weary and his great mercy makes me fall on my knees with gratitude that a God so great would plan the reconciliation that I have received through the cross of Jesus Christ.

I heard a phrase in song this week that has been the refrain in my head today. “God’s compassion is my story, it is my boasting all the day. Mercy free and never failing, moves my will, directs my way.” May the mercy of God direct my steps and may the world see the amazing, abounding, endless love of the God who loves me and the God who loved them even before they drew their first breath.

Journey 3-16-06

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart, before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and faithfulness, When I called, you answered me, you made me bold and stouthearted. May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth. May they sing of the ways of the LORD for the glory of the LORD is great. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me, your love, O LORD endures forever… Ps 138 1-5, 8a

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. Ps 42:8

The loving-kindness of the Lord our God is great. It is amazing how He is able to work with the frail human heart to bring Glory to His Name.I am amazed how He answers when I call and how He strengthens me with His strength and power when my own strength has no ability to carry me through life.

He is my Rock and my Refuge. He even gives me the song of His love that becomes my prayer back to Him. My prayer is that He will be glorified, in me and among the nations, that all would know His compassionate love and His great mercy. I long for the day where His name and His renown is the song of every man, woman and child.

Journey 3-8-06

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love endures forever.” Ps. 136

If you have a chance take some time to read this Psalm this week.

What an amazing description of the many, many ways that God’s love and goodness endure toward us!

How amazing that God’s love endures, in spite of our weaknesses, failures, rebellions and wandering hearts.

He is so good.

Journey 3-1-06

“Let’s get one obstacle out of the way quickly: our erroneous belief that God’s will for us is tighter, narrower, more constrained and certainly more boring than our own. We have allowed the thief of humanism to convince us that God’s will is sacrificial at best. God’s will for our lives is so much broader than ours that the two are incomparable.” Beth Moore, Voice of the Faithful, March foreword

I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free. Ps 119:32

I read this quote and this scripture within hours of each other and it set my mind to pondering. First, I reflected on the quote. How true it is that I often believe that God’s will for me is less (more difficult and less rewarding) than what I would have chosen, when in truth it is so much more wonderful, that I can’t even begin to imagine the fullness of it!

Then I thought about how I look at the Scripture and the Christian life. The Psalmist says that he runs in the path of God’s commands. I could envision when I used to turn my horse loose in the arena after she had been cooped up in a stall for days. She would run, exploding into action, as soon as I turned her loose. Her head high, tail extended, she would eat up the ground full of the joy of freedom. I think that perhaps my small view of God’s will for my life means that I generally walk, sometimes crawl and at best jog in the path of His commands. But I seldom RUN. But I want to run in the path of His commands, for the life and the freedom that He has given me is beyond measure.

Journey 2-22-06

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:1-4

I mentioned previously that I have been surprised at the adjustment necessary coming from a humid climate to a dry climate. I never expected this challenge as I still remember how it took me months to adjust to living in a humid climate when I first moved to Florida. 🙂 Since I have been in Hungary my body has been thirsty! My skin is dry and I use a great deal of lotion. My hair is dry and I am using extra conditioner. My eyes are dry and I am using extra eye solution for my contacts. I even bought a humidifier for my room. My body longs for moisture. I was thinking about that feeling as I read this verse. I won’t be satisfied with just a drink of water, my whole body is thirsty for moisture. In the same way, I thirst for God. My whole being longs for his goodness, his grace, his mercy and his love. And I don’t just want a little drink of Him. I want to be immersed in Him!

His love truly is better than life and I long to glorify Him.

Journey 2-15-06

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God – Eph 1:1a

By the will of God. A powerful statement.

Have you ever thought about the fact that you are who you are by the will of God?

Paul was an apostle by the will of God. I am serving in Hungary by the will of God. You are where God has led you by His will and His plan.

Nothing happens outside of God’s sovereign will. He designs circumstances and allows circumstances for His glory and our good.

I was thinking this morning about one of my favorite quotes about Aslan from the Narnia chronicles by C.S. Lewis.

“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

As I’ve looked at the world around me this week it is good to remember that God’s will for my life might not be safe and comfortable but whatever He has for me is ultimately good because He is good.

Journey 2-7-06

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus… Heb. 12:2a

I heard a great sermon last Wednesday about the basic strategy behind our enemies attacks. No matter whether the attack comes from within our circle of friends or from outside or through the circumstances we find ourselves in, the goal of the attack is to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus.

I’ve been thinking this week about how often and how easily I take my eyes off Jesus. When I get frustrated with language study, when things don’t go the way I think they should, when I am running behind and my bus doesn’t come…etc, I often find I have taken my eyes off Jesus and have them on some other thing. It only takes a moment for my perspective to change. In fact, even when I am focusing on keeping my eyes on Jesus I am surprised to realize how often my eyes have somehow drifted to a situation instead.

Thank the Lord for his infinite patience with me! Just think of how amazing life could be if I really did “FIX” my eyes on Jesus, every moment of every day. This is my prayer.

Journey 1-31-06

How is it you don’t understand…then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matt. 16:11a,12

In this passage the disciples misunderstand Jesus’ meaning. I was thinking about language learning this week and how if you don’t know one word, or don’t understand the options for alternative usage of a word, you can get the whole meaning of the sentence wrong. As I looked at this passage I was thinking that even more than that, you can understand the language and still miss the real meaning. How many people have read the Bible but missed the message of the cross, never understanding that they can accept the free gift of salvation?

I am praying that God speaks to my heart the truth of His word. That I won’t just see the surface of His teaching but will continually learn of the height and depth and length and breadth of who He is. I am also praying that I will have opportunities to share the good news of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and that my communication will be clearly understood.

Journey 1-23-06

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. Matt. 11:28-29

Physically I haven’t been feeling great this week and I was definitely feeling weary when I read this verse yesterday. The first thing that caught my attention was the word REST. All of the changes of living in a new country, from climate to language to culture and everything in between can be draining, physically and emotionally. Rest sounded pretty nice. 🙂 Then I thought about the rest of the verse. Specifically the phrase, “Learn from me.” What an example our Lord set! During his ministry on earth he was living in a land stained with sin. That alone must have made him weary. He was constantly the center of attention, both from people who longed to be near him and his enemies who wanted to destroy him. You can’t read the Scriptures without realizing that his days must have been physically challenging. “Learn from me.” Jesus had his focus on his Father’s will and on His Father’s heart. Gentle, Humble, Full of Love….

I need rest for my soul and I need to find it by seeking Jesus and His example. My desire is to know Him more – to love Him more. I have nothing to give unless it first comes from Him.