finally HOME!

Our lesson in Revelation this week focused on the eternal Home JESUS is preparing for us.  I was reminded of these precious thoughts that found words last fall after a treasured visit to my childhood home gave me a glimpse of my heavenly Home.  It is a joy to re-read them and share them here – may they turn all of our eyes and hearts toward HOME!

Over the summer, I had the chance to go home for a visit – to my childhood home where my parents still live.  I can’t even remember the last time I was home for longer than a rushed weekend.  This visit was different.  I was able to enjoy an entire, unscheduled week-long walk down memory lane, introducing my son to so many favorite pastimes.

From the moment we pulled in the driveway, it was obvious that careful preparation had been made to welcome us home.  The lawn and gardens were beautifully manicured, the house was spotless, the kitchen was stocked with all of our favorite foods, and the bedrooms were freshly painted, redecorated and graced with fresh flowers in my favorite colors.

As I laid my head on the pillow that very first night, in the quiet of my old bedroom, glancing at the quintessentially Pennsylvanian candlelight in the window, tears of tender appreciation welled up.  My parents know me better than anyone.  They have loved me and provided for me since before I was born.  They knew exactly what would make my homecoming so meaningful to me and it was clearly their joy to put all of those special touches in place… just for me.  I felt safe, spoiled, known, loved, valued – in a place that was freshly prepared but familiar, a place where I could leave the demands of real life behind, where I could truly REST.

In the quiet of that candlelit room, my eyes drifted from one happy aesthetic to the next, a warm, deep smile growing with each item… the delicate new sheer curtains that captured the gentle light that reminded me of so many (MANY) special, decorative touches my Mom has added to any and every occasion, my Dad’s old desk where he sat to study his Bible or to manage finances in providing for our family when I was little, the top of the dresser entirely covered with family photos, those captured and cherished moments together, and the rocking chair from Arcadia University (once Beaver College) where Dad served as the Registrar, where my sister and I worked summer jobs, and where all three of us kids eventually earned Bachelor and/or Masters degrees.

I remember my grandmother always enjoying a good rocking chair.  She was quiet but very wise.  She didn’t speak often, but when she did we listened!  When she wrote us letters, we treasured them and preserved them.  They were always beautifully scripted and packed with God’s Word.  Her life was simple, but deeply rich in love for and devoted service to her Savior.

This was the room my sister and I shared when we were young.  Before that, it was my parents’ bedroom.  I remember piling into that very same bed when frightened by a strong thunderstorm and one rare earthquake.  It has always been a safe and comforting place!  So many precious memories and so many reflections of loved ones packed into that space!  With a deep and happy sigh, I drifted off to sleep surrounded by the greatest feeling of love and appreciation for the many blessings I have received from my parents over a lifetime!

philly and greenwood (23)

philly and greenwood (19)b

philly and greenwood (81)

Each night of that week at home, I lingered at bedtime, in that quiet candlelight, trying my best to stay awake long enough to soak in that overwhelming feeling of “home,” to whisper prayers of heartfelt thanksgiving to God for placing me in that home with my parents and family, for their faithfulness to Him and to their job of drawing our hearts to Him for as long as I can remember.  I was so grateful, too, for the chance to be there again, many years later, in that very same room where I woke on the first Monday morning of summer vacation when I was twelve.  That was the morning I finally realized that Jesus died for me!  When He said “it is FINISHED!” on the cross, He had satisfied the demands of a holy God for my sin and secured a home in heaven for me!  That was the morning, in that very same room, that my life took a brand new direction, when I placed my faith in my Lord and Savior, when I found peace and an eternal perspective!

In the years since then, my love for Jesus as my Savior and my Lord has grown fuller and richer!  He is walking beside me, always drawing me nearer and nearer to Him, teaching me more about Himself and about His eternal plans for me and for all of His creation.  He is expanding my view of my eternal home!  While soaking in so many wonderful things about my childhood home, I couldn’t help but flash forward to an even more thrilling homecoming!  Jesus promised us “I go to prepare a place for you… in my Father’s house are many mansions… when everything is ready, I will come again to take you with Me so you will always be with Me where I am.” [John 14]  Who knows me better or loves me more than my Creator, my Redeemer, my Counselor and Friend, my coming King?  If my earthly parents go to such lengths to welcome me home with every detail that thrills my heart, what will the Lord’s welcome be like?!

Scripture tells us that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has begun to imagine what God has prepared for those who love Him!”  [1 Cor 2:9]  We really cannot conceive of the indescribable wonder of our heavenly home.   But as I glanced around my childhood bedroom, I couldn’t help but think that it will be a place of *ultimate* love and safety and comfort, that it will be filled with all that thrills our hearts – reflections of a loving Creator, an eternal Redeemer, a wise Counselor and Friend, and a majestic King!  The centerpiece of every inch of our heavenly home will be Christ Himself!  We will never feel more welcomed and provided for and yet be completely captivated by His very Person, rather than our own feelings or comforts.  We will look around and realize this is the permanent dwelling place of God, *our* permanent dwelling place with Him!  That place where He imagined each of us from eternity past, loved us and provided for us before we were even born.  We will absolutely feel safe, spoiled, known, loved, valued – in a place that is freshly prepared but somehow familiar, a place where we will be able to leave the demands of earthly life behind, where we will truly REST. “He will bring us into His banqueting house, and His banner over us will be love.”  [Song of Solomon 2:4]  We will finally be home… and not just for a visit… we will be forever with the Lord!!!

“Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven!

Of touching a hand and finding it God’s!

Of breathing new air and finding it celestial!

Of waking up in glory and finding it HOME!”

[D. Wyrtzen & L. E. Singer]

While basking in the overwhelming joy of day dreaming about heaven, one thought pricked my heart:  THAT is the place Jesus gave up … for me!  In obedience to the Father, His only Son left that beautiful, sinless, radiant, glorious, permanent dwelling place of holy, almighty God.  He came to this broken, sin-cursed earth, to live as a Man, to experience the impact of evil on a world He spoke into existence in its purest, unmarred state.  He felt the physical, emotional and spiritual agony of the ugly and violently brutal rejection from those He created.  He was separated from His Father, totally forsaken by Him for those dark hours on the cross, bearing the penalty for my sin.  It is staggering.  It is hard to linger in these thoughts, but I don’t want to brush past them either.  It is in this sorrow that I can appreciate more fully how much Jesus loves me, how much He loves His Father, what obedience to His Father and love for me cost Him.  I can only offer pitiful thanks.

“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.  Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.  Thank you, Lord, for giving to me, Your great salvation so rich and free!”  [Seth & Bessie Sykes]

Praise God my thoughts can shift from sorrow in my Lord’s suffering to joy in His own homecoming!  “When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” [Mark 16:19]  “God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a Name that is above every other name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow… and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [Philippians 2:9-11]  “[Jesus] was constantly at [the Father’s] side, daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” [Proverbs 8:30]  What a homecoming!!!

And what a homecoming is waiting for us!!  Jesus, Himself, is preparing a place for us.  He is making loving preparations to welcome us home.  Every detail of His vast creation is intricate and awe-inspiring, beautiful beyond description, breath-taking, too wonderful to comprehend.  The homecoming He is preparing for us will be no different!  And the greatest blessing in that moment will be Jesus Himself! 

“Face to face with Christ my Savior, face to face, what will it be?

When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me?

Face to face – oh, blissful moment!  Face to face – to see and know;

Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so!”

[Carrie E. Breck]

Tonight as I lay my head on my pillow in my own home hundreds of miles away from my childhood home, I will still whisper prayers of thanksgiving… for my Savior, for His bountiful provisions for me ALWAYS, and for a treasured visit to my childhood home that has helped me to catch a glimpse of my eternal HOME!  I can say with the New Testament believers that with each passing day, I’m a little more homesick for heaven!

“Waiting for our blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ!” [Titus 2:13]  “Encourage one another with these words.” [I Thessalonians 4:18]

Eagerly waiting to be finally HOME!

finding it Home

 

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gates of a single pearl

Every sparkling, colorful gem stone you can imagine, every precious metal in its purest form, dazzling light and life, protection, provision and purity… we can’t begin to wrap our heads around these descriptions!  As our study of Revelation with Bible Study Fellowship reaches a thrilling conclusion, we are learning about the amazing, truly mind-boggling details of God’s holy city, the new Jerusalem.

One of the questions in our lesson this week asked which particular aspect of the holy city is the most striking?  Goodness!  How could I even choose?  But one detail does capture my attention – 12 gates, each one made from a single pearl!

“and I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…it was filled with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious gem… its walls were broad and high with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels… the twelve gates were made of pearl – each gate from a single pearl!” – Revelation 21:2, 11-12, 21

The statement rolls by so quickly, I almost miss it… like the account of creation in Genesis when, in the midst of the mind-blowing power displayed by Creator God, there is this phrase, “and He made the stars also.”  Oh, by the way, just as a little added touch, He made the stars also.  What?!  Do I really pause to think about how stunning that statement really is?  He made the STARS!  Each and every one of them!  He named each one and personally hung them in their place.  Wow.  Just wow.

My mouth gapes open again as I imagine a heavenly gate (you know it’s got to be big!) made of one single pearl!  Whoa!  In our discussion time, I was delighted to hear that I was not alone in my amazement.  My BSF friends met my wide eyes with stunned glances of their own and those knowing nods of the head that say, “I know!  Isn’t that just incredible?  How can that be?!”

We all agreed that this is Almighty Creator God we are talking about.  He can certainly speak a HUGE single pearl into existence by the Word of His Power and fashion a heavenly gate from that pearl.  But the whole idea had us wondering… could there be a clam shell that large?  Could an actual pearl be created in the same way we see on earth for each one of those 12 gates?  I don’t know.  But God has definitely used this vision of those single-pearl gates to get my attention!  These questions made me curious to see if there might be some interesting tidbits or significance about the gates of God’s holy city being made of a single pearl.

So I went digging.  I always tell my kids, “If you don’t know, look it up!”  Bible, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Concordance… and now that Google has replaced our good old-fashioned Encyclopedia Britannica, we can search for just about anything and learn interesting facts – and find other Bible verses to broaden our understanding!

I learned some things about pearls from the American Museum of Natural History:

“when an irritant [foreign matter, wayward particle] finds its way into the mollusk, a fluid is used to coat the irritant… layer upon layer of this coating is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed” … “the mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same substance that is used to create the shell” … “a pearl is a hard object [firm, solid, resistant to pressure, unbreakable, strong] produced within soft tissue”

The Lord Jesus also used a single pearl in one of His parables:

“the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  –  Matthew 13:45-46

With each new word picture, my mind wanders in new and wonderful directions.  No analogy is ever perfect, and I certainly do not want to be guilty of getting wound up about details that detract from the main themes in our study of the holy city.  But I honestly think some of these possible connections are pretty amazing.  So indulge me a little?

In our sinful state, we are foreign, worse than an irritant to holy God.  But if we find our way to Him, He will cover our sin with the blood of His Son.  Our Savior will wrap us in His righteousness, clothe us in the garments of salvation, and begin a transforming process.  Layer upon layer, growth upon growth, we become more and more like Him until… one day in glorified bodies we will be like Him entirely!  We will be completely remade, fashioned with the same material as the Original!

This amazing process will take place between the “soft tissue” of God’s heart and the “soft tissue” of our hearts.  The “pearl” that is formed in each of us will be solid, unbreakable, and strong because it will be anchored in the safe embrace of our Father, Almighty God!

One of my Bible study friends wondered out loud, “could there be some significance to the pearl being the gate?”  And as soon as she posed the question, she offered a possible answer: “ooh, maybe it is because Jesus covering us with His blood, wrapping us in a robe of His righteousness is the means by which we can enter God’s presence!”  I love that thought!  The work Christ has done to redeem our sinful selves, to cover our sin with His blood, is exactly what makes us acceptable and righteous before holy God.  Because of Jesus, that door to heaven now stands open to us!

My mind drifted back to Jesus’ parable about the kingdom of heaven, the merchant seeking beautiful pearls.  He is the Merchant that sees each one of us, His created children, as pearls of great value.  He gave everything He had, His very life, to rescue us from the power of sin, to buy us back to Himself.  He loves us so much that He went to great lengths to be able to fling open those pearly gates to welcome us home!

“He the pearly gates will open so that I may enter in

For He purchased my redemption, and forgave me all my sin!”

Frederick A. Blom (1917)

Pearls have always been a favorite of mine.  I wore my grandmother’s pearls on my wedding day.  One of the first pieces of jewelry I spent my own money to purchase was a pearl ring, which I still treasure.  As I ponder these little lessons I have renewed appreciation.

I am the pearl of great price my Savior gave everything to redeem.  He takes my sinful self and covers me with layer upon layer of His righteousness, His character, making me strong and lustrous, reflecting His glory.  One day, with wonder and amazement, my wide eyes will see those single-pearl gates, standing open to welcome me Home! 

And I will have no more questions – just a knowing that this was God’s true desire from the very beginning.  His dwelling place will be with us, His people. He will be our God and we will His happy citizens, the beautiful bride of the Lamb, dressed in white linen, lavished with the brilliance of His glorious presence!

Read more here!  –  Genesis 1:1-2:4 (God’s original creation) – Revelation 21:1-22:6 (God makes all things new – His new creation!)

robe of righteousness

Robed in righteousness not my own

I’m redeemed by the blood of Christ alone

My Savior claims me as His bride

One day He’ll call me to His side

He’ll dress me in purest linen white

Because I no longer need to fight

 

Through a gate of pearl He’ll welcome me in

His brilliant Presence nothing will dim

We’ll sing with hearts overwhelmed with delight

In that place with no sorrow, sighing or night

All praise to the Lamb, the Victorious One

Our unending song has only begun!

Elizabeth

It was time.  It was well PAST time!!!  So there I was, on hands and knees, with a bucket of hot water and Lestoil, thick rubber gloves and the rough side of a sponge, scrubbing my bathroom floor.  My WHITE tile bathroom floor.  That floor and I are not friends.  We’re just not.  It shows every piece of lint, dust, hair, droplet of water or hair spray.  I can scrub it clean and within minutes it looks nasty again.  Did I mention we are not friends?

It’s not pretty.  I get a little (ok, a lot) whiney about my dislike for that floor.  But the wiser, more practical side of me overrides my discontent and reminds me that it is not a small or inexpensive undertaking to change what I don’t like.  Instead, I choose to ignore it.  The problem with ignoring it is that it also gets neglected.  The lint and dust and hair mount and as a product of the 80’s, hairspray is not just a little additive.  Let’s just say that by the time I decided it was TIME to tackle that floor, it was down right crusty!!!  And required hands and knees, scrub one tile at a time with more than just a little elbow grease kind of nasty!

The bittersweet of this story is that we are blessed with a very spacious bathroom… so that white tile – with which I am not friends – we have a lot of it!!   Scrubbing that floor, 6×6 inches at a time took about 2 hours!  As I scrubbed away, face to face with that white tile, you might think that my mind would drift to Cinderella, her happy tunes or her singing birds and mice.  Nope.  Instead, I kept thinking of Elizabeth.

Mother of John the Baptist.  Wife of Zechariah.  Elizabeth.

I didn’t realize before that there is only one Elizabeth in the Bible!  Just one!  There are several Johns, a few Marys, a few Josephs, and even more than one Zechariah… but only one, truly special lady named Elizabeth.

And the Lord called her to walk a path through life that was much more difficult than my struggle with white bathroom tile.  Many aspects of her life were blessings and challenges mixed into one.  And none of them were within her control to change, logistically, monetarily or otherwise.

And yet, the little we are told about Elizabeth would lead me to believe that she never grumbled about, ignored, or neglected what the Lord had placed in her hands.  Instead we read of faithfulness, commitment to God’s plan, and rejoicing!  We only get a glimpse of this special lady, but I have a feeling I could learn a lot from her!

Luke was the only one to tell her story.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were both from the priestly line of Aaron.  They had no inheritance within the land of Israel.  Their service for the Lord and His provisions for them were their only inheritance.  They were set apart by God, for His service.  They were unique among the children of Israel.

Elizabeth was also barren.  By the time we are introduced to Elizabeth, both she and her husband were well advanced in age.  She may have spent many years longing for a child, longing to raise a son who could learn from his father to serve God in His temple.  In a family of priests, their role within the nation of Israel was already set apart, and now God called her to walk a path that was additionally isolating, possibly misunderstood and judged, and, very likely, lonely.

Luke described Zechariah and Elizabeth as “righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commands.”   Despite any personal disappointments, this couple remained faithful to the roles and in the place the Lord assigned to them, day after day, year after year. Then, maybe when they least expected it, they were given the remarkable opportunity to see how their unique situation would draw attention to the truly miraculous things God was about to do:

* an angel from God appeared to her husband, face to face!

* their prayers had been heard and answered!

* she, who was called barren and beyond child-bearing age, would conceive, carry, birth, and raise a son!

* their child was named and claimed by God, for a specific and thrilling assignment before he was even conceived

* her close relative, Mary, was chosen to carry and birth JESUS, the Messiah!

* Mary came to visit her and her baby leapt with joy in her womb, both of them filled with the Holy Spirit!

* Elizabeth knew (with little explanation from Mary, at least in scripture) that Mary was the chosen mother of her Lord and was overjoyed at the honor of receiving such a visit

* these two close relatives, both expecting their first, miraculous child at the same time but at drastically different stages of life, would have the joy of spending 3 precious months together in a hidden away place to walk with each other through their extraordinary experiences

The details of her story are familiar enough to me that sometimes I take them for granted.  These were truly miraculous events!  In her very body, Elizabeth experienced the impossible become possible!  After a lifetime of faithful service to God, she and her extended family were chosen to live out critical details of the Lord’s eternal plan of redemption for His people.  After generations of longing and clinging to the promises of God that He would send a Redeemer, they were watching it all unfold… in their very own home, but also with a far-reaching impact they couldn’t begin to understand!

I am amazed by how calm Elizabeth seems!  My head would have been spinning.  I would have had so many questions… and far too much to say.  Elizabeth’s recorded words are few but very telling: “How kind the Lord is!  He has taken away my disgrace.” ~ “Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? … You [Mary] are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”  ~ “No!  His name is John.”

There was no exasperated, “finally! I finally get to be a mother!  I just wish this could have happened at a different time.”  There was no envious comparison, “why wasn’t I chosen to be the mother of the Messiah?”  There were no selfish plans for her son, “well, I think we should name him this” or “I’d love for him to grow up to do that.”

No.  Only thankfulness.  Only recognition of the Lord’s kindness to her.  Only awe and honor that the mother of her Lord would visit her.  Only encouragement and confirmation to this young mother that God would bless her for her belief and obedience.  Only utter confidence in the plan God had created and already spoken over her son’s life.

How did Elizabeth stay so calm, so confident, so joyfully yielded?  How did she seem to know and understand what God was doing?  I can only guess that her unique circumstances led her to the Lord in prayer many times over many years – that she had listened and learned the commands and promises of the Lord, followed them, believed them – that the One true God made Himself real to her in a growing, personal way – that she knew His still, small Voice well – that He revealed things to her that few around her knew or understood.

Knowing God and trusting His plan must have steadied her when life got really interesting!  When no one around her knew quite what to make of their living miracle, she seemed to have no questions, only confidence… and JOY!  Her life before, during and after giving birth to her long-awaited son seems to have been hidden away, quiet, unnoticed by most – simply faithful.

God noticed.  God placed her exactly where she was, mapped out her days, and had eternal purposes embedded in each step.  He asked her to walk a difficult and probably heart-breaking path, but equipped her to do so, even when she didn’t see the dramatic turn that path would take.  He commended her faithfulness in what He had given her, her carefulness to follow what He had revealed to her.  And He used her to raise the one who would go before Him and point many in Israel to their true Messiah.

So how did all of this come to mind and transform the scrubbing of my bathroom floor?  I know full well that white tile would have been the least of Elizabeth’s concerns.  On most days, white tile is the least of my concerns, too.  But my Savior used those crusty, nasty tiles and that labor-intensive job to crack open dark places in my own heart.  My disdain for those white tiles is just a convenient outlet for much deeper restlessness – the questions that lurk, discontented at best, frustrated and defiant at worst – the what ifs, the if onlys, the why does it have to be this way?

The Lord brought Elizabeth to mind for a reason – to give me her God-honoring example to follow:

Will I embrace the Lord’s path for me, even when He has placed me where I might not choose to be?

Will I faithfully care for what He has placed in my hands, white tile and all?

Will I choose to see His kindness, choose to be grateful?

Am I steady and consistent, simply faithful to Him?

Will I look beyond whatever it is in my day that I don’t prefer…to be honored and overjoyed that my LORD would visit me?! – to let it sink in that He not only visits me, but has given His life to redeem me, to live within me every day?!

Do I believe He will do what He has promised and trust Him that each step in my path in exactly and eternally purposeful? 

May He help me to do just that – all of that – for He is faithful and abundant in loving-kindness.  His ways are perfect.  Confidence in His plan will steady me… always.

Who would have thought, when I started my procrastinated scrubbing job, that I would stand back at the end of it with a changed heart: “how kind the Lord is,” for He has taken away a dark corner of restlessness from my heart!  He has shifted my focus from white tile to the honor of His Presence, from gnawing questions to the JOY in simply serving Him … exactly where He has placed me … faithfully!

Read more here!  – Luke 1 & 2 – I Thessalonians 5:24 – Isaiah 63:7 – Psalm 18:30 – Psalm 119:1-8

how kind the Lord is 2

let us KNOW…

I have been digging deep, wrestling hard questions, and coming face to face with an ever expanding view of Triune God through a study of Revelation in Bible Study Fellowship.  Our class year and our chapter by chapter lessons are coming to an end in a few weeks, and I’ll be honest – this study has taken my head and my heart on quite a journey!  In some respects, I am weary.  I long to embrace some easier passages of God’s Word and not make my head hurt so much as I strive to understand the greater mysteries of God’s plans.

But the truth is this:  following Christ is a continuous journey of learning, asking new questions, working out the answers in real life situations, hungering to know more, and reaching again and again to my One and only Savior when I realize He is my best and only answer… always.

As I was already arriving at this conclusion, I discovered a fantastic progression of “let us” Bible verses… some in Daily Light, some in my Daily Devotional Bible, but all within just a few days’ time.  The Lord used that little phrase “let us” to draw my attention to a life-long cycle that honors Him and leads me to a place where I can receive His greatest blessing – more of HIM!

Let us know… let us press on to know the Lord. (Hosea 6:3)

Let us draw near… [to Him] with a true heart and full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:22)

Let us hold unswervingly… to the hope we profess, for He is faithful who promised. (Hebrews 10:23)

Let us run… the race He has set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1)

Let this mind… be in you with was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

Let us encourage… one another to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

Let us come boldly… to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Let us know… press on to know the Lord. (Hosea 6:3)

May my first inclination and desire be to know the Lord, my Creator and Redeemer.  As that hunger deepens, may it draw me nearer to Him, for it is only in that nearness that I will witness His true heart, sense His presence, know His guidance.  As I learn more of Him, may my trust in His provisions grow, may my confidence in His faithfulness expand until I am bold and unshakable, grounded in truth, just like He is.

When He has prepared me and pointed me toward the path He has planned for me, may I run (not meander!) that path with my eyes always fixed on Him.  May my confidence grow in the knowledge, and backed by the experience, that He set me on that path and He will see me to the finish line.  May I allow His mind, through His Spirit, to guide me, strengthen me, and mold my character to reflect His as I tackle each twist and turn and hurdle in that race.  Along the way, may I reach out to other Christ-followers near me, encouraging them to do the same… run the race He has given them, fixing their eyes on Him, reflecting His character in love, encouragement and good deeds that bring glory to His Name.  May the mind and heart of Christ reflected in me draw those who do not know Him to want to know Him and to experience His saving power in their lives too!

When I hit snags that detour or hinder or even halt my progress, may I seek the safety, all-sufficient provision, comfort and renewal of His embrace, the open door to His throne where I can boldly request His mercy, His grace, His wisdom and His direction… and receive it all abundantly!  As I watch Him work in those troubling times, in those circumstances, in my very soul in the midst of them, may my understanding of Him expand again and again.  May I KNOW – may I press on to know the LORD through it all.

May every step of growth and understanding and appreciation for my Savior meet any weariness with rest, any wrestling with peace, ever drawing my heart away from anything else and only toward Him, and growing my hunger to KNOW HIM MORE.

So I’ll keep studying.  And digging.  And asking questions.  And applying what He teaches me to real life situations.  And bringing my praise and thanksgiving (for He is truly worthy!!!)… and needs right back to the Lord, my One and only Savior… always!

let us know