Jesus-In Our Head or Heart?

 

From Daily Meditations for Women, Tea Leaves compiled by Nancy Stutzman:

 

“…Don’t so many “Christians” have Jesus in their heads–and only there?  Yes, they know the language, know the right prayers to pray, put on superficial smiles, respond to “How are you?” with “Fine!” even when there’s turmoil and hurt inside, can pull out appropriate verses on occasion.  Needs?  Do they have them?  They’re not expressed.  There’s a missing element.  What is it?  Could it be brokenness?  Transparency?  Really NEEDING God?  Jesus in their heads, yes.  Such an experience of Jesus will only reach another head and will result in head knowledge without a heart experience.

Jesus in the HEARTS of believers…that’s a LIVING experience!  That’s where the springs of living water are.  That’s where the power is—power to forgive, power to lay aside our reputation, power to maintain clarity in our relationship with Him and others, power to risk vulnerability and transparency, power to respond to, “How are you today?” with a “Would you pray for me?  I’m struggling,” power to confess our faults one to another (that’s where the healing begins), power to respond in obedience to the promptings and urgings of the Holy Spirit, power to fall on our faces before Him and say, “God I NEED YOU.”  Such an experience of Jesus will reach another heart.”

 

Thank you to whoever penned this!

Do I Have to Share Him?

The following is a devotional entry from the book, Devotional Meditations for Women, TEA LEAVES, compiled by Nancy Stutzman. Several women contributed to the book or I would give proper credit to the proper lady.  Life is busy, as you know.  Lots going on around here, so I thought I would share some of these devotionals that have had a profound impact on my thinking over the past several months.

Now he’s mine, I thought on our wedding day.  Although I knew that God had first claim on my husband’s life, I was unprepared for the implications of that claim.

None of our wedding vows had said anything about sharing my husband.  I didn’t know then that countless brown-skinned Salvadoreans would soon be taking chunks of my husband’s days and nights.  I had no idea that he’d become so involved in soul-winning.  Nor was I prepared for the long hours he’d spend counseling new Christians.

At first i twas hard to accept.  I wanted to have first place in my husband’s life.  I wasn’t satisfied with the time he spent with me.

Then I read about Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower. As the story goes, Dwight took Mamie aside soon after their wedding.  He told her that his country would have first pace and she would have second.  Mamie accepted it and they lived together happily for 52 years.

If Mamie Eisenhower could accept second place in her husband’s life for the sake of the United States of America, can I do less for the kingdom of God?

Someone once wrote, “It’s better to have 10 percent of a 100 percent man than to have 100 percent of a 10 percent man.”  Thinking of it that way helps me to be content even when Eli’s not at home.

Yes, my husband is mine.  But first of all, he belongs to God.  If only I wouldn’t forget so often!

 

Spring Is On Its Way…To The Northeast And To My Heart

Those of us here in the Northeast and everywhere else that has been hit with a winter to remember, are just about through with the beauty of winter. The first snowfalls were beautiful, clean and white covering grass, trees, limbs, roofs. We couldn’t get enough.  Those first calls that school was closed, the excuse to skip grocery shopping and dentist appointments brought a resounding hooray!

But now…we are ready for it to be over.  After a while, the beauty of the snow drifts in the driveway and yard are replaced with the drudgery of having to trudge through it once again only to clean off the car, start the car, and maneuver the car down roads that aren’t good enough to be driving on, but not bad enough to be closed.

Sometimes life is like that.  We feel strong and confident from the lessons we are learning through the snow drifts.  We are thankful that God has shown Himself to us through the difficult walks.  But then we think we have the lesson down and we’re ready for the snows to let up.  For the sunshine to break through and warm up the temperatures and melt the snow.  For it all to go away.

I’m in that place these past few weeks…..with winter and life.  My body and my heart are ready for a new season! I’m done with the shoveling, the trudging, the dark skies, the cold that life in this fallen world brings.  Lord, warm my heart!  Bring back the sun (Son) in it’s glory!

But until You do (and I know You will), wrap me up in Your blanket of love, light the fire in my heart, and put a good cup of coffee in my hands.

Survivor Guilt and Heaven in Sight

 

My dad is the oldest of four children.  He is 85 years old.  The four children were all two years apart.  Brother #2 past away four years ago.  Brother #3 is getting ready to pass into the arms of Jesus as I type this.

Survivor’ s guilt has taken on a new meaning in our family.  When I passed on the information about my uncle being ready to go to my dad, his first remark was, “I don’t know why I’m the oldest and they are all going before me.”

I had nothing to say.  We were both emotional. And no one but God Himself has the answer for that.

Another occasion when you trust in the sovereignty of God.  He has a plan we don’t always understand. My Uncle Bernard loved Jesus.  He served Him with all his heart until a few years ago when Parkinson’s disease started to wrack his body physically and now mentally as well. Soon he will be dancing on streets of gold, free of disease, free of dementia, free of the burdens of this life! How can you NOT rejoice in that?

The reminder? Life is short.  Eternity is forever.

For now I will remember my uncle as he was. He was a man who loved the Lord, his kids, his grandkids, and his nieces and nephews.  He made our life fun. He was a funny guy.

…and he always called me by my sister’s name. Always……This makes me smile.

The day after I wrote this Uncle Bernie’s faith became sight.

It is well with my soul

You Can Do It!

“I’m not qualified to teach my children.”  Even if you were not an A student, give yourself some credit. I have some friends who struggled the most or cared the least in school who have turned out to be the most amazing homeschooling moms I have seen! Trust me. I am no genius. I stay a step ahead of my children and I have learned the most wonderful things WITH my children. And when I can’t stay ahead of them, I find a person or a resource who can! Teach your children to love reading and the rest, as they say, is history!

“My child and I couldn’t work together, it would be too frustrating.  We are too different (or too alike…lol)” you say?  I thought the same thing!  But I will tell you, my children and I have a much deeper and closer working relationship now than when I was just helping them with evening homework after a day at school!

“What about socialization?”  I throw this in here sarcastically, although EVERY home educating family will have this brought to their attention.  Learn to laugh it off.

If your worries are what is holding you back, just remember…It isn’t about you.  It’s about what your heavenly Father can do THROUGH you!

 

Petitioning

Her day begins before the sun rises.

The angels silently looking on

see her by her sacred spot

with her face to the ground,

her lips moving.

She seeks the Highest.

Another day–

strength, Lord….

to wash the dishes and clothes,

to cook the meals (what for dinner today, Lord?),

to sweep and tidy the house

to clean dirty bodies and wipe runny noses,

and change messy dresses again and again.

Another day–

patience, tenderness, Lord…

to listen to children’s questions and endless chatter,

to read them the same books over and over,

to reassure them and love them and touch them,]

to be their friend and play with them,

to let them help knead bread or wipe the floor

or lick the cake bowl.

Another day–

emotional stability, Lord…

to accept interruptions as ministries,

to maintain a cheerful and welcome spirit to doorcallers,

to find reassurance from You that I’m normal

when I’m lonely or when I cry

or when I miss my friends

or when I’ve had “too much.”

Another day–

love, Lord

for the chocolate-skinned youngsters

who walk in uninvited and begin to explore

for the mothers who come to talk

and others who come to watch.

Another day–

Grace, Lord…

to be pleasing to my husband today,

to do him good and not evil,

to be loyal, supportive, and loving,

to live in a “glass house,”

to accept gracefully our lack of privacy

and lack of normal living,

to lay down again my rights and what I want on the altar

and say “Yes, Lord” to Your will, what You want, when, and however long You want,

and then, Lord, grace to see You in all of today 

and to see all that comes to me today as from You.

So be it.

The form rises.

She pledges…her utmost for His highest.

The angels carry her requests,

and the Father answers…

…she is a mother.

(From Devotional Meditations for Women, Tea Leaves, compiled by Nancy Stutzman, wife, mother, missionary to Belize)

I was really blessed by this today.  What really struck home with me was that when I am struggling with these things: strength, patience, tenderness, emotional stability, love, and grace, doing His will, it isn’t because God has somehow forgotten I’m here.  He hasn’t!  I don’t have them because I have lost connection with Him. I am so busy being a wife, mother, teacher, discipler, that I forget the most important thing is to spend time with the One who gave me these good things and people, seeking how HE wants me to love them and what HE wants me to do with them. May you be blessed as you take time to begin your day in your sacred spot with the angels silently looking on!

A New Year A New Vision

Sometimes the best advice we homeschooling parents can get, is as close as those who have already been through our “school.”  My 19 year old sat down with my 16 year old junior and me yesterday and said, “The best thing Liv can do until graduation is read about a lot of things and a lot of people, write about them, and learn to speak.  A lot.”

Seems too simple to us.  Especially those of us who may worry about meeting all of the “requirements” or making sure our kids are college ready.  I am convinced that we spend too much time worrying about the status quo and not enough time shaping our kids into who they are (whether we homeschool or not).  I know I am guilty of this. Now, we aren’t always going to love everything we read.  Sometimes we need to be informed about topics that may not thrill us.  But when compulsory reading is tempered with a majority of self chosen or at least enjoyable reading, it makes us want to read more! You can learn a lot of about science, history, and math from good quality fiction and well written biographies!  And the more we enjoy reading, the better we will be able to put thoughts down on paper (or computer desktop) and talk about it with a group.

So a lesson for all of us? Read on! Write on!  Speak on!

Where Godly Example Begins

I have not participated in 30 days of thankfulness on social media.  No particular reason. I sure have plenty to be thankful for.  When I think of all the things I have to be thankful for, it seems to boil down to one common thread. A godly example.  I am only a second generation Christian.  My mother’s parents came to Christ several years after she did as did my father’s mother. So as a family we have only been on the Jesus journey for 68 years.  But my father has been on for all 68 of those (as well as my mother before she went to be with the Lord).  Never wavering, never questioning, never “backsliding.” And it hasn’t always been an easy ride.  But serving Jesus isn’t.  If it is, check yourself.

I am reading through the book The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot and I came across this statement from her father to one of her brothers:

I am so pleased at the way you and_____ handled the affair, putting the Lord first and trusting Him…I am always thankful when I hear that any of my children have faced trial in the strength of the Lord and with the “comfort of the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4).  If you become saturated with the Bible, you will always be able to find some comfort and strength in every situation in life.  I have read it systematically for forty-four years, and am finding today that the Lord continually brings to mind the things from it.  I am on my twenty-eighth trip through the Bible this year (he was sixty-three), making notes as I feel led…I pray for you usually four times a day.”

Our children need to know where we stand with Jesus.  Especially when the tough times fall.  How different are we then?  Saturate ourselves with the Bible…And pray, pray, pray for our children whether small or grown.

For this example in my life and knowing that my dad prays for me every day, I am grateful.  Every. Single. Day.  And from that springs every other earthly thing I have to be thankful for.

Happy Birthday Billy Graham

DEC. 20 2010 FILE PHOTO

After scanning the event of Billy Graham’s 95th birthday, I am shaken.  Shake to my core with what it really means to finish well.  I am sure when Billy started out on this journey he did not expect the Lord to bring him this far for this long.  I am not sure he expected the outlet God gave him to preach the message of the cross.  He just wanted to preach.

None of us can possibly foresee the circumstances God will place us in at the various stages of life to come.  We only need to be obedient to where he has called us NOW.  It doesn’t do us any good to think about how we can “expand our ministry” if we aren’t ministering where we are.  Does it do me a bit of good to think about sharing Jesus in Africa if I can’t share Jesus with my next-door neighbor?  Does it do me any good to fear sharing Jesus in Africa just because I can’t share Jesus to my next-door neighbor right now?  See, I don’t know what God has for me in the next 50 years.  I can only know what He has for me now.  Tell them. Tell them here.  Tell them now.

I know Billy Graham isn’t lavishing in holiness.  He isn’t some super human who is without sin.  He is the first person who would tell you that. What I do see is a consistent example.  A man who loved Jesus, loved his wife, loved his children…until the end. A man who put Jesus at the forefront of all he did and said.  His peers have attested to that.  It wasn’t just some show for a television crusade.  He is leaving a legacy.  Generations of believers to walk behind.

When my dad started his journey with Jesus almost 70 years ago he didn’t envision pastoring eight churches, raising four children, losing his wife at 70, marrying another woman to carry on the journey with at age 73, and pastoring full to part time into his 80′s.  But when God called He answered. And I am sure if God calls him to keep going for another 10 years until HE is 95, he’s not expecting that either!

Serving Jesus is a moment to moment thing.  He can’t be the most important THING in our lives.  He must BE our lives. Every thought, decision, and word must be made behind the backdrop of the cross. I am guilty here but working on direction…not perfection.

What I loved the most about Billy’s birthday celebration was this:

“He’s the most humble man you’ll ever know,” said McCrory. “He knows it’s not about him. It’s about the cross.”

We don’t all need to be Billy Graham.  But we do all need to obedient to the cross.

“And may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Life-Bearer

Mother are you feeling a little overwhelmed with this think called motherhood? Are you questioning why you are pregnant again?  Are you stressing because you don’t have enough me time or desire the life you had in the work force?  Take to heart these words from Elisabeth Elliot:

A mother is a chalice, the vessel without which no human being has ever been born.  She is created to be a life-bearer, cooperating with her husband and with God in the making of a child.  What a solemn responsibility.  What an unspeakable privilege–a vessel divinely prepared for the Master’s use.

REJOICE!