From today’s sermon: You can choose to view life from a lens of fear or a lens of trust. Which will you choose today? How are you choosing trust over fear?
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
–Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Every morning as I prepare for my day, I decide what to wear. Looking in my closet, I have choices. Do I wear a skirt today? Slacks? Jeans? What top coordinates with the skirt or pants? Both must match in color and appropriateness for the weather and occasion. Next, I decide on appropriate accessories. Which shoes? Belt? Scarf? Jewelry? All these choices match one another to create a unified whole. Once I make my decisions and dress, I’m ready for the day.
Just as I daily choose what clothes I’ll wear, I have choices in what to don from my spiritual closet. What shall I wear? Shall it be a spirit of complaining or gratefulness? If I choose complaining, I accessorize with sorrow and bitterness, to create a coordinated ensemble. I wonder: Is this what a child of God would wear? Is this appropriate attire for the daughter of the King? Instead, I choose to wear gratefulness. To match gratefulness, I choose compassion and humility, which naturally complement one another. To accessorize, I choose good deeds for my feet. The sparkling gem of God’s love unifies the ensemble. Now I’m ready for the day.
Father God, help me make wise choices as I choose clothing from my spiritual closet.
(I first published this devotional in The Secret Place, Fall 2017)
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Even though He knew Lazarus had died and was buried, Jesus wept. He knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead, yet He wept. When he saw Mary weeping, He wept. Like the tip of an iceberg, these two simple words give us a glimpse of the depth of Jesus’ love and compassion.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matt. 5:4 NIV).
I pray that those of you who are grieving will experience His peace and comfort.
Here’s a take-away from a sermon by my pastor: “Shame can never produce that which only grace was designed to produce. What would it look like for you to draw near to God with a sincere heart?”
Feel free to share your own Sunday sermon snippet.
I first published this article in The Secret Place, Fall 2016
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms….” Deuteronomy 33:26a (NIV)
A tickle deep in my throat prompted me to leave the sanctuary during the sermon. I got a drink, coughed, and blew my nose where the noise wouldn’t disturb others. Standing outside the nursery, I heard several little ones crying. On an impulse, I opened the door, ready to help.
As soon as I walked in the room, a little cherub of 2 or 3 walked toward me with arms outstretched. I sat on the floor and she climbed into my lap and placed her head on my chest. After a few moments she got up and played with one of the toys. Soon she was back on my lap, ready for more snuggling. For the rest of the service, she didn’t say a word, but quietly cuddled.
I didn’t hear the sermon that morning. My sermon came in actions, not words. A little toddler reminded me that God will hold and comfort us whenever we walk toward him with arms open wide.
PRAYER: Abba Father, let me be like the little child, my arms open wide to receive your comforting embrace.
When I was a child, I remember my dad always gave up something for Lent. He might forgo desserts for the season or give up some other indulgence. I never knew why he did this, but I know he was always faithful in it.
This image that has been circulating on Facebook has given me a different way to view Lent. Last year, I gave up chocolate (an enormous sacrifice!) and desserts. This year, I’m going to re-read the words of Pope Francis, and consider my words and attitudes. But I want to do more than giving up, or fasting from things. This year I am going to study and meditate on the book of Luke. I’m going to look at the life of Christ and ask him to help me to live and love like Him. I aspire to give of my time and talents. This month I’m hoping to knit five hats for the homeless as a way to help those less fortunate.
What about you? Are you doing anything special for Lent? Are you fasting? Are you giving? I’d love to hear what you’re planning.
On Throwback Thursdays, I’d like to share a bit of my faith journey with you. When I was a child, my family did not regularly attend worship services.
Oh, we went to Easter Sunrise Services and sometimes to Christmas Eve services, but that was about it.
Fortunately, I had grandmothers who prayed.
They were the first who influenced my future relationship with God.
What about you? Who were the people who first influenced you? Were you a child or an adult? I’d love to hear about your faith journey.
Winter is nearly over. Nature already shows signs of approaching spring and we anxiously await the hoped for new growth. No matter how long or dreary winter may seem, we always know that spring will arrive, eventually.
But what about the winters of our souls? What about those times we feel distant from God and disconnected spiritually? How do we create spring in our souls?
One thing that helps me to reconnect with God is long walks outdoors. The nature trails nearby remind me of the majesty and beauty of His creation and allow me to bask in His presence.
What about you? How do you encourage new spiritual growth during the winter of your soul?