"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Casting My Cares, Reeling in Peace

My whole family gathered around the table to celebrate my Father's birthday. His favorite cake was passed around as laughter rippled down the long table. Yet, one person could not be there: my Dad.

Honoring his memory that evening was my Mother's idea. She wished for each of the grandkids to share a happy time they remembered with him. Some were too young when he passed to know him, except through the eyes of others and pictures that hung on the wall. Many positive things were said. I am grateful for that focus.

See, my Father got many things wrong, but he got the most important thing right. He said yes to Jesus many years ago. I have no idea who I would be today if it were not for this decision he made. I do not agree with a lot of choices he made after that, but I choose not to let that be my focus. I am eternally thankful that he followed his heart and found the cross.

When I dwell on what is going wrong around me, my downturned eyes and heart make it difficult to praise my maker. Freedom comes when I turn to thankfulness, and joy quickly follows.

Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. (Proverbs 11:27 NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

So, in memory of my Dad and his love of fishing, I commit to:
Cast all [my] anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for [me]. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
And I will reel in joy, peace, and thankfulness.

Jesus, thank you for orchestrating the events of my life as you have. You have all wisdom and knowledge far beyond my understanding. Help me as I continue to give you my cares and receive your peace. Amen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whiter Than Snow

Dirty snow banks lined our street. The plow had come through and thrown salt, dirt, and snow in heaps, leaving more than a few mailboxes hanging on for dear life. One of my least favorite parts about winter, I thought. Coupled with cloudy days on end and frigid temperatures, I had had enough.

Then a less than jolly weatherman broke the news: brace yourself for six more inches overnight. Great, just great. Now I know why someone planned a feel-good holiday smack dab in the middle of this dreary month.

When I glanced out the window the next morning, I was mesmerized. Piles of pure white fluffy snow graced every tree, every branch. Sun glistened diamonds sang a song from every corner of my yard. *"Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." 

The filth from the day before was gone. Everywhere I looked, I saw a fresh beginning. And I thought, What if I started every day in this way? What if I actually believed what the Bible says about his mercies being new every morning? What if I gave those around me the same grace? 

Can I start each day as it's own possibility, rather than hanging onto the mistakes of yesterday or trying to figure out tomorrow? Do I understand forgiveness enough to believe that a perfect man on a cross + crimson blood = a pure heart?

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." (Lamentations 3:19-24 NIV)

Jesus, your blood covers all of me. Somehow in that process, I come out clean. Thank you for a tangible reminder of your grace and love. Help me to extend that to those around me who need it most. Amen.

*"Whiter Than Snow," Hymn by James L. Nicholson

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Who He Says I Am

I am an expert at letting myself down. I have high standards which I routinely fall short of. Too often I listen to the lies that are whispered, most certainly, by the enemy of all things good. Then, I start to doubt who I am and what I am here for. Continuing down this train of thought, I arrive at worry and fear.

How do I turn the impending wreck around before it is too late? I return to truth. I fill my mind and heart with what the Word of God says about me. Here are some reminders I needed today.

I am:

  • designed by him
  • the crown of creation
  • very good
  • created in his image
  • loved
  • forgiven
  • promised eternal life
  • fully known
  • free to choose 
  • redeemed
  • never alone
  • a reflection of him
  • not hidden from him
  • encouraged to come to him boldly
  • a daughter of the king
  • a dwelling place for his Spirit

I can be at peace because of who he is and what he has done for me.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways. 

Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.

(Psalm 139:1-5 NIV)

Thank you, Lord,
for timely reminders
of truth, and wisdom
to turn from lies.