Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good Gifts

This afternoon my husband and I had a quiet, kid-free hour together so we started plotting and planning what we'll get the kids for Christmas. We brain-stormed different ideas, weighing one against another, picturing each of our unique children and trying to imagine what would best suit each one. It was fun. We had a sense of joy driven by an unspoken anticipation of Christmas morning and the moment when they'll open their gifts...

We have a Father who has been planning delights for us before the world was even created. (1 Peter 1:20) He knows exactly what you like. He knows that you're unique, and not quite like any of His other children. He knows the desires of your heart that you've never even told anyone else. Way back when He was dreaming up snowflakes and the Grand Canyon, He had you and the desires of your heart in mind. He smiled as He planned treasures for you.

It's not all "spiritual stuff" either. He created you body, soul, and spirit. He delights in all the parts of you and has blessings that touch every facet of your being.

Sometimes we can't believe that He has amazing gifts stored up for us because we're nursing resentment about the gift we didn't get. Like the monkey trapped with his hand in the jar we need to "let go" so we can receive the good gift planned for us.

Sometimes we have a hard time believing such things about our heavenly Papa because our experiences with humans have taught us not to expect too much... I bless you with knowing the truth about the abundant nature of your Heavenly Father.

Live in anticipation of receiving good things from your Papa. Anticipation is not whining or demanding, but an alert trust that His plans for you are good. When your anticipation meets the longing of His heart to heap blessings on you amazing things happen!

Every good gift and every perfect present
comes from heaven;
it comes down from God,
the creator of the heavenly lights,
who does not change or cause darkness by turning.
James 1:17 GNT

Monday, November 22, 2010

Inches to Miles

"Can I just read one more chapter and then turn out the light?"


"Can I read two chapters?"

Sigh. "I give you an inch and you take a mile! One chapter and turn out the light."

It's a dialogue that's been repeated throughout generations. My parents said it to me and I've said it to my kids. I give you an inch and you take a mile! Perhaps it's because we were created to long for more.

I met a pretty girl with long brown hair and a pain in her heart. I wanted so badly to tell her that God loves her, but how do you do that with a complete stranger? What if I did and she was angry? What if I couldn't find the right words? I begged God, "Please let me tell her that You love her. Please make the way and give me the words."

He did and it was amazing! She didn't yell at me--she simply got tears in her eyes and walked away. I knew Truth had touched her heart. It was enough. I wanted to shout with joy: "Wow!! That was fun! Can I do it again?"

Immediately good manners collided with my heart's longings... You didn't even thank Him for answering your prayer! I give you an inch and you take a mile! However, those thoughts weren't from Him. He was delighted. He gives us a taste of His glory just hoping we'll want more. In fact, He challenges us to press Him for more.

What do you want? Name it: Nations as a present? continents as a prize? (Psalm 2:8 MSG)

Ask and you'll receive. (Matthew 7:7)

He's able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Eph 3:20)

What is your heart longing for? Ask! He dares you... He's hoping the answer will leave you longing for more.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalm 37:4-5

Saturday, November 13, 2010


My father was born in an occupied country. Life was lived as the enemy dictated. Hunger and anxiety were constant companions. All of that was normal, the only life he'd known. He remembers enemy soldiers taking the little food they had and soldiers sleeping in their barn. He remembers huddling with his father against a wall while bombs were being dropped all around. The only life a five-year-old had known until one day...

The best memory, the one that's poignant and stands out above all others, is of the liberation celebration and his first piece of chocolate. A whole bar of chocolate wrapped in shiny gold and blue paper--all his. A smiling Canadian soldier in a green uniform. Music playing. Girls in white blouses and orange sashes. Exuberant joy! A whole new beginning.

Things didn't change overnight. Reconstruction took years, but the atmosphere was transformed by freedom.

We too were born into "occupied territory". Restlessness, dissatisfaction and anxiety are normal. Most live according to the dictates of the enemy. They've heard that a Liberator came and signed a Freedom Proclamation, but they don't believe it. There's so much evidence to the contrary. Collaborating with the enemy seems like their best hope of satisfaction. Some believe, but they don't think they'll experience freedom until "someday" and so they huddle in darkness hoping to survive until the Liberator returns.

Others have seized the Proclamation and claimed it as their own. They are shouting and waving it around, singing songs of freedom. This Resistance band is determined use the weapons provided by the Liberator to push back the enemy, to be part of the reconstruction, and to live according to the truth of the Proclamation regardless of evidence to the contrary until the Liberator returns.

May you be like the little blond boy receiving with wide-eyed wonder the shiny morsel of gold-wrapped truth that Freedom has come. Taste its sweetness. Be revived and celebrate. Declare it to those still sitting in darkness--He has come! Your freedom has been won!

You were dead because of your sins
and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.
Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.
He canceled the record of the charges against us
and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities.
He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15