Christ in you.

a couple weeks ago, i was listening to an old amy grant christmas cd.  i don’t know about you but i grew up on that album. and i can be a wee bit sentimental about these kinds of things…

it’s filled with upbeat songs that bring back the childlike excitement of christmas.  the songs fill you with hope and joy of the season.

somewhere towards the end of the cd, the music mellows and the song that gets me everytime plays…

breath of heaven.

if you haven’t heard it, it’s a song about mary and her journey carrying that precious baby. it takes you away to a distant time and place.  there are no christmas lights or santa clauses, just a young girl and a young man on their way to bethlehem. 

as i thought about this song again, a new thought came to me.  i once heard of a woman who would notice with each pregnancy an increase in the gift that the specific child carried.

it made me think of mary. 

was she more aware of deeper things while she carried the Savior in her young body?

i think so…

was she overcome by compassion when she passed by the less fortunate?

was she more aware of injustice in the world around her?

was she stirred to somehow bring hope to the broken world in which she walked?

was she aware that within her dwelt the One who would overcome all of this?

then my thoughts turned to us some 2000 years later.  and a familiar verse.

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” -colossians 1:27

not only did He dwell in mary.  He chooses to dwell in us today. 

do we carry His love?

are we moved with compassion?

do we walk in the gifts that He carries?

you may be thinking i am inadequate to carry this Man… she did too.

“Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one, should of had my place”

my prayer for you tonight is that the breath of heaven is filling you now.  i pray that you would be filled with a fresh awareness of His sweet presence that dwells within you.

merry christmas 2011!!

“Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holyness
For your holy Breath of Heaven”

 

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define me…

I haven’t had a day off in too long…  My room, my house, and my diet for the past week have been screaming at me.  Last night I finally made it to the grocery store to by real live foods.  I made vegetable soup and juiced organic carrot juice and green lemonade this morning.  4 loads of laundry, one bathroom, and one kitchen attacked, all the while a still, small voice, said, “rest”.  

After this next thing, I kept telling that very patient small voice.  Finally, I was vacuuming my room, and the circuit blew.  All the power went out for my side of the house.  I searched the garage and my roommates closets for the breaker with no luck.  

Fine, I’ll sit with you, still small voice, for awhile.

I left the vacuum in the middle of the room, and grabbed my journal and Bible.  I felt Him say, I want to tell you who you are.  I want to define you.  I want to be the loudest voice in your life.

Hmm, so much talking, but how often to I forget to listen to the voice that matters the most?

 Four pages in the journal later, with a hand that couldn’t write fast enough, I was amazed.

How often I forget to “be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)”. He is the wisest.  He is the best.  He is for me.  He wants to talk too.  

He doesn’t like to be left out.

He “makes her (me) secure forever” (Psalm 48:10).

He is my anchor, and I don’t ever want to leave Him out.

Dear Jesus, thank you for reminding me of all this through the breaker going out. I love you so much. Amen.

how to handle disappointment

I am re-posting this one from last year, just in case someone out there really needs it.  As I read through status updates and have conversations with friends, I think it might be relevant.

Love, Anna

With teary eyes, I sat down with 2 upbeat kids to read them their bedtime story.  Generally, I am a kid person, and have a high value for engaging with them.  This night I was struggling to get to 7:30 bedtime.  I was quite relieved when the 3 year old insisted I play mermaids and sharks with her, only because it required getting into the bed and pulling the covers over my head.  The mercy of God can come in such strange ways.

The little boy handed me a comic Bible.  I told him to pick “one” story from the book.  I am not a first-timer here.  He chose 2 Samuel 12.  It is the story of David and Bathsheba’s first child.  Every kids favorite Bible story right?

Ha ha, I love my life.

As I swallowed huge lumps in my throat asking God to hold back my tears for another 10 minutes until I shut their door, He spoke to me through this comic Bible story.

The story begins with Samuel telling David a story.  The story is about a rich man who steals a very poor man’s sheep.  David becomes furious and demands that man be punished, the wise Samuel quickly informs him that he is that man.  He stole Uriah’s wife and killed him.  Samuel goes on to tell David that this sin will cost him the life of his first son with Bathsheba.

David repents, refuses to eat, and storms the gates of heaven with prayers for his infant son who soon became sick.

One week later, the child passes away.

The servants lurk in the corners of the room afraid to tell him the news.  Let’s picture David in the moment.  He has not eaten, he has not shaved or showered, and probably hasn’t slept much either.  I think I’d be a little afraid too, of the scent if nothing less.

David sees them and he bluntly asked, “is the child dead?”.  When they reply that indeed the child has passed, he gets up, eats, takes a shower and goes to the house of the Lord and he worships.

I want to stop here for a moment, because this fascinates me.  Here’s a few reasons why…

1. David believed in God’s goodness enough to cry out for the desire of his heart.

2. He repented, but chose not to walk in condemnation for his sin.

3. He didn’t change his view of God’s character when he didn’t get what he asked for.

4. He still believed God was good and worthy to be worshipped.

5. Instead of doubting, asking questions or walking in shame, he worshipped.

6. He focused his attention on the Lord rather than the emotions he felt.

I can’t help but be challenged by David at this moment.  Are these perhaps some of the reasons that he is the “man after God’s heart”?

What are my responses to disappointment?

Do I make a theology out of what happened to me?

Do I still believe He is good all the time?

Do I value worshipping Him above how I feel?

The story has an interesting and happy ending that I think isn’t coincidence, but God’s response to the pure heart of David.

David went to comfort Bathsheba, and she became pregnant again.  They had Solomon a man of peace, who “God loved”.

We’ve all experienced sin and disappointment in walking on this earth, can I ask you today how you handle yours?

Is there anything you can learn from David?