Tag Archives: jesus

The pull

 

Some days the pull is heavier than others.

If I’m honest, most days heaven never even crosses my mind.

But lately, there’s been death. Illness. Struggle.

And also less dramatic things like the gentle bent toward sin that you can feel when you’re really, really honest with yourself.

I’ve felt it lately – that bent.

It’s not the “big” things that are hard. (I’ve never had a genuine desire to murder someone or steal the Queen’s crown jewels or run a big insurance scam.)

It’s the little things – That small tug of jealousy in your heart. That tinge of desire to gossip. That undercurrent of pride. That hint of dishonesty. That pull to judge. That appeal of self-righteousness. That tendency to be critical.

And that’s when I really long for heaven – for that place where the tug of sin no longer has any grip, anywhere to latch on, any hold whatsoever of my heart.

I recognize my frailty. I’m still so weak, even in my holiness, even in my right-standing with Him.

There are areas yet unsanctified.

It’s only in him that I’m truly home.

And so

my heart

continues to long

for heaven.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you think about heaven much? In what way?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.

 

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Every time we take up our cross

“Every time we take up our cross — we take weight off someone else.” -Ann Voskamp

How often do I view the “taking up of my cross” as a burden to myself? And yet really, it’s not a burden but a blessing.

Jesus said, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Anyone who’s ever been a part of a Christmas celebration can attest to the truth of his statement.

And so taking up my cross so that I can bare the weight of someone else’s? It’s not a burden. It’s a gift given to another.

Which is ultimately a gift given to me.

And all of it is a gift given to HIM.

So hard to remember when we allow the daily grind to blur our vision.

I want to take up my cross, so someone else won’t have to.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you been challenged to take up your cross lately? Did it feel like a burden or a gift?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


To my gay and lesbian friends who feel excluded and alienated and discriminated and rejected:

I am sorry. We have failed you.

We have not represented him well.

We have not taken seriously our calling to be ministers of reconciliation.

We have ignored peace and mercy and opted for justice (at times narrowly defined by our current political systems).

We have sought morality above love.

We have been proud when we should have been humble.

We have defended our rights when we should have laid them down.

We have picked up our knowledge of good and evil instead of picking up our cross.

We have picketed when we should have been washing feet.

And for that I am sorry.

The way of Jesus is always tender. His mercies are new every morning.

His reach is not limited by any human definition.

I love his Church–fiercely–and I am a part of her. But I recognize her reflection of him is still being polished.

She is still learning, growing, being made into his likeness. (And I, along with her.)

Please know that Jesus is infinitely more good than what you see through us.

There is nothing about him outside of good. Good, good, good, good.

Pure, unadulterated, goodness.

(And we–his Church–are good too, but only in him, and because of him.)

We are weak and growing up and in need of his grace too.

We are beautiful and flawed and holy and human.

And you may not always believe it, but we really are trying our best.

As much as you need grace, we need it too.

From each other, but most of all from him.

Help me as I learn to love more completely.

Help me.

Help us. (Oh God, help us.)

STOP.

Related post: What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage and the church.)

 

Love,
A

P.S. I went over my time limit on this post. Please also note that I will delete any comments that I deem as unkind or disrespectful. (You are free to agree or disagree with me in the comments – that is not the issue. Just know that I will not engage in on-line debate or tolerate slander in my little space here.)

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage)

It landed in my inbox and I couldn’t not read it:

A Christian Debate on Gay Marriage from Relevant Magazine featuring two “experts” on either side of the issue.

The article itself wasn’t even that good. (No disrespect intended.)

But the comments…

The comments are what drew me in.

I read pages and pages of comments, one after the other, from people in either camp of the gay marriage debate.

Some appeared to be written with much thought and intelligence.

Others seemingly rattled off out of haste and unbridled emotion.

Some quoting scripture and some quoting experience.

Many out of context.

All on both sides.

The tears began to well as I realized that what I’ve been fearing really is true:

We are more known for what we’re against than for what we are for.

Why aren’t Christians known for mothering for orphans, caring for widows, assisting the elderly, including the outcast?

Why aren’t Christians known for embracing the refugee and the alien?

Why aren’t Christians known for being accepting and gracious and abounding in love?

Why aren’t Christians known for bringing healing to the broken-hearted?

Why aren’t Christians known for being slow to anger?

Why aren’t Christians known for addressing poverty and engineering clean water and reducing childhood mortality?

Why aren’t Christians known for befriending inmates and serving the homeless?

Why aren’t Christians known for improving health care and education?

Why aren’t Christians known for diffusing discord and being bringers of peace?

Why aren’t Christians known for loving gay people? Any people? All people?

Why?

It breaks my heart that we are known for deciding who are sinners and who aren’t. Who gets into heaven, and who does not. What sins should be legislated and which sins shouldn’t. (As if that “right” belongs exclusively to us.)

Because don’t we all need Jesus?

Isn’t the ground at the cross a level place?

Wasn’t his sacrifice sufficient for everyone?

Have we not all been made in his image?

Does he not delight in his children, whether they know him or not?

Aren’t we all worthy of his gift?

Is there not room enough in his heart for all?

Is there not room enough in mine?

So I closed the screen as my lap became wet with heavy tears.

Forgive us Lord. Have mercy. Draw near. Show your face.

I wept as I prayed.

And then I wondered, what if we prayed more than we lobbied?

What if we practiced more than we preached?

What if we served more than we sought protection?

What if we asked for more of God’s heart to help us navigate our times?

What if compassion moved us, instead of anger, fear, and judgment?

What if we loved, expecting nothing in return?

STOP.

Related post: To my gay and lesbian friends who feel excluded and alienated and discriminated and rejected

 

Love,
A

P.S. I went over time limit today. And please note, I will delete any comments that I deem unkind or disrespectful. (Whether comments are in agreement or not is not the issue. I will not engage in online debate or tolerate slander.)

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.



Serving people is almost always inconvenient

Serving people is almost always inconvenient.

So often I don’t feel like making the effort, giving the time, or dishing out the dollars. Even when I know I “should”.

But inevitably, when I’m able to get over myself and move beyond my feelings I begin to serve and my feelings almost always change.

Recently I was given the opportunity to do something that would require a big effort, a big sacrifice of time, and a huge inconvenience in terms of scheduling.

Believing it was the right thing to do, I said yes.

And now, having done the “thing” I’m so, so, so glad I did.

Yes, there was some sacrifice involved. Yes, it meant adjusting a whole bunch of life to make it work. Yes, it would have been much easier to just say no.

But if I had said no I would’ve missed out on an incredible blessing – the blessing of giving.

Jesus said it’s better to give than to receive. it wasn’t just some good idea when he threw it out there. It was (is) truth. And I can testify to that.

I’m amazed at what I’ve received simply by choosing to give.

Sometimes the giving is difficult at first, but always as I’ve chosen to give (serve) my sentiments have changed mid-stream.

The giving becomes “easy” in that it flows.

And as you pour out, you’re also filled. (A very strange paradox.)

The surest way to be filled up is actually to give first. After all, if you’re already full, what room is there for more?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you ever feel like serving is inconvenient? Have you experienced that feeling changing as you’ve stepped into it regardless?

 

Love,
A

p.s. By the way, I think if you give/serve in order to receive something in return… you’ve missed the point and your selfishness can hinder the blessing. The point here is that receiving is a beautiful byproduct of the giving.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


He will make your paths straight

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3

I’ve been rolling this verse around my head a lot today as Ryan and I began our teaching on the DTS.

We’re teaching this week about making Jesus Lord – surrendering to him as Lord – and from my perspective the basis of that teaching is to first trust that he is good.

How can you give him your life and your future if you don’t believe he’s good? (And has the very best intentions for you.)

The amazing news is that as we trust him, he aligns our paths to him. We don’t have to struggle to find our way (or back to) somewhere on that one mysterious path that we lost. He just aligns us begining right where we already are.

A miraculous thing actually.

Funny how I preach on this stuff adn then am challenged by it all in the same day. Yeah, “funny”.

I’m certainly trusting God right now in new ways and new areas.

And I’m certainly not able to lean on my own understanding – because the understanding just isn’t there.

It’s a beautiful thing – knowing that I can depend on him and his care of my family.

Because certainly, he is good. And completely trust-worthy. And amazing.

So glad I can relax into him and that he’ll carry me even (especially) when I don’t understand.

Q for you: Trust is a weighty subject. Do you trust God? Or do you find it difficult? Why?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Why talking about money is fun, not boring

No one likes to talk about money.

At least not on a personal level.

We talk about investments and the economy and “out there” stuff, but most like to keep talk of their personal paychecks private.

Today I wrote a post about finances for another blog that’s soon to launch (where I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor – more about that soon). And, although I usually think the topic of finance is a little boring…

I was totally into it.

I mean, like really, really diggin it.

Because when you know God, and are connected to him, it becomes not just about numbers in a bank account or dollars in your pocket, it becomes about understanding him and his ways. (And, oh how I love knowing him and his ways!)

There’s a verse in Luke that talks about how he provides for the ravens and how much “more valuable” we are than them.

And that’s it! That’s the key!

God provides for us because we’re worth it. We’re worth it.

Did you catch that? Cuz it goes for you too.

He also provides for us because that’s who he is – our Provider. Capital P. That’s what he does. He can’t not be himself.

Money can be a difficult thing – when it rules us, when it seems we are in lack, when it’s squandered, when we idolize it, etc. But it can also be a really beautiful thing.

Jesus never shied away from talking about money.

So why do we?

We need it. We want it. We can even use it as a tool to worship him and bless others.

I’m so glad he thinks I’m worth it.

STOP.

Q for you: Do you struggle with talking about money? Did you know that God thinks you’re worth it?

Love,
A

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Homesick, and the ache of More

It happens to me every. single. time.

A visit to my childhood home approaches and I grow homesick.

Home. Sick.

The closer the trip becomes, the more my heart aches.

It’s been twelve years since I lived in America.

You’d think that the longer I am away, the easier it would become.

But hardships and revelations and babies and friendships make that impossible.

Instead, the ache grows.

I know what it’s like to be a foreigner. To live as an alien in a land not my own.

I know what it means to put roots down and be home, and yet not really home.

As much as the ache aches, it’s also my gift.

Reminding me that I’m not Home. Reminding me that there is More.

My home is in Him.

Homesick for heaven… Homesick for a place I don’t know, and yet know so well.

Sometimes I think it’s the lack of belonging, that hard-to-pinpoint knowing of yes, here I fit.

But I will never really fit.

I realize it’s more than a circumstance, a feeling, an address, a season.

It’s heaven. It’s Him.

I’m homesick for Him.

My home is in Him.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you homesick? A foreigner living in a “strange” land? Is this you, too? What do you do with the ache?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Guard your heart

Something happened today. It was only a little thing.

But it hurt my heart just a bit.

Wasn’t directed at me. Didn’t even really involve me.

But I suppose that was the problem. (I’m purposefully staying vague here.)

As I brought my little pang of pain to the Lord this phrase came into my mind out of Proverbs: “Guard your heart for out of it comes everything.” (my paraphrase!)

I know that my response needs to be to “guard my heart”… because the response of my heart will determine my thoughts, and later, my actions.

I need to guard my heart from taking on offense; I need to choose to not dwell there, in that little tiny bit of pain that creeped in.

Mmmm, yes.

I was then reminded of the verse in Phillipians that talks about not being anxious for anything but instead with prayer and thanksgiving bringing my requests to God. For if I do, the peace of Christ will guard my heart.

I’m so glad that this “guarding my heart” business is not all my responsiblity. Yes, I have my part to play… but so does Jesus (the Peace-Bringer).

I guard it. He guards it.

Between the two of us we should pretty much have it covered.

That deosn’t mean it’s always easy.

Most of the time the “my part” can be a little bit hard. (And get in the way of the “his part”.)

But with time and maturity and fear of hte Lord it does get easier.

So tonight I’m guarding my heart in the litle things. Making sure that I don’t take on offense unnessesarily. Making sure that I don’t judge someone else’s actions (or intentions, which I can’t fully know anyway, right??). Making sure that I don’t find my worth in the gestures of people, but instead in the greatest gesture of God.

What is it? That greatest of gestures? It’s gift of his Son, his very self, and the presence of his Spirit.

Tonight, he gets my heart. So glad he knows how to guard it well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you guard your heart? Have you ever thought about this concept?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


The goodness of starting fresh

“He is risen!”

“Hallelujah!”

“Jesus is Lord!”

Christians say all of these things (and more), but especially on EAster.

And for good reason.

The fact that God became man, moved into our neighborhood, taught people how to follow truth, and then died by incredible injustice… only to come back to life a few days later? Um, pretty amazing. Weird and amazing.

But today as much as I thought of these types of phrases over and over, trying to make one fit… they just didn’t really. (And that’s not for lack of belief or conviction.)

No. Today the words I just kept thinking over and over were…

“God is good.”

Yes, it’s another Chritian cliche… but also for good reason.

You see, God is good. So incredibly good. So amazingly good that he came so that all things and all people might be renewed – made new, born again, given life…

I love all of the metaphores of life that we use to celebrate Easter – the eggs, the flowers, the spring chickens and bunnies.

All of them represent life starting fresh.

And Easter is a time to remember life starting fresh and all of the possibility and wonder and beauty that comes with it.

We remember Jesus’ life starting fresh all over again. But we also remember our own.

Our life that is fresh every. single. day. because of the goodness of a very great God.

So as I draw a close to my very, very good Easter day, I go to sleep with that phrase on my mind – God is good.

And that is for many reasons… including “He is risen, indeed.”

I’m so thankful for my life-giving Jesus.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What does Easter mean to you?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.
Adriel also writes (using spell check!) on motherhood and parenting at The Mommyhood Memos