This is me, talking about love and prayer at church this morning.
I admit sharing a video of myself sharing at church is a little intimidating (although we live stream our services at http://www.dallasbaptistchurch.org) but I thought it might make this blog a little more relatable.
Hope it encourages you today!
This idea, that God pursues us, has been stuck in my heart and mind of late. It could be from the incredibly catchy TobyMac song Love Broke Thru, which is all over Christian radio right now. It could be that he started putting people I care about in front of me and saying “I love them. You love them. I want you to pursue them.”. And it could be knowing that God has created the desire to be pursued within our hearts. Mine. Yours. I know what it is to have the Holy Spirit calling out, to have God pursuing me. And better yet, to be caught.
So when my friend from high school, who has the greatest heart for reconciliation I have ever seen, started asking me how we could reach out to those people from our past, I realized that my unsaved friend was not only asking me to pursue her with the truth, but to come together and be reconciled with people we both care about so that we can pursue them with the truth as well. She is a dear friend and the one brilliant example of my desire and effort to pursue someone. I wronged her once upon a time and it took many attempts to receive forgiveness and reconciliation. She was worth it. Our friendship is worth it.
I know that my mission field is riddled with broken relationships and long forgotten friendships with people God still loves. People I still love. Hearts I must pursue. I’m grateful that when people see me, they see something different. Now I must prepare myself to give a reason for my hope.
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:8-16 NIV
How to make welcome new friends:
Greet them as they walk in your back door. (let them use your back door)
Include them in what you are doing, whatever it is.
Be yourself. Really.
Then those new friends will feel at home and included and at ease in falling right in love with you.
I found a little piece of heaven in Brunswick, MD this weekend at the First Baptist Church.
They greeted us as we came in the back door. (it was what their website said to do)
They brought us right into their morning. They made a spot on the couch for us. Literally.
And then they showed us their heart for Jesus.
I fell right in love.
Pastor Phil shared a message I suspect the Holy Spirit had been saving just for me. I’m probably not the only person that feels that way though. The message brought to mind this quote I can’t help sharing.
“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”
First Baptist Church – your light is so lovely I have no doubt people will want to the know the source of it with all their hearts. Keep shining, my brilliant (new) friends.
I saw this great instagram post yesterday:
“when to give grace? i’d rather stand before God knowing i loved others too much than regretting that i judged too harshly.” – Lysa Terkeurst @lysaterkeurst
I see a lot of time and effort spent on correctly defining grace – what it means to love, when it is required to speak truth. Lots of great points are made. I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus wants us to speak truth – and he wants us to love each other. In fact, I believe that He shows us that love requires truth. I believe He also shows that truth requires love.
I know that it is very difficult to find someone to speak truth to you. First, you have to be looking. How many of us are really looking for honesty all the time? Then you have to find someone who is a little fearless (or crazy) and is willing to give it to you straight. They have to believe that love will keep hard truth from pushing us apart. You have to be willing to let love embrace the hurt that the truth may cause.
Most important to this discussion is the source of truth. It is not necessary for you to share the “truth” of your opinion. It is not necessary to share the “truth” of the internet variety either. Truth must come from a trusted source.
This seems to be the heart of most of the discussion on this point: we cannot ignore the truth of God’s Word.
Jesus knew all truth. He knew the darkest, ugliest truths of every moment, every person. He knows the horrors that are coming. He has seen all of our history and future and he knows how truly awful we can be.
But God – He loved us. Even knowing what He knows.
He expects us to acknowledge His truth. We are sinners. We are lost.
But God – He loves us. He knows His love can heal the hurt of that truth.
That’s what Easter is about. That’s Grace.
12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
Revelation 19:12-13 NIV
Revelation is always a little baffling to my human mind. I might be off the rails here, but I am reminded that the Word of God IS God. The truth. The life. The way. And Love.
Thank God for grace.
In my walk as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am inhabited, overcome by, the Holy Spirit.
I’ve come to understand this to be a larger vision of “God with us” than a God who is always watchful. Instead, He is a God who is always present. This means to me that every conversation that I have, every thought that fleetingly exists in my manic mind, is shared with Him. It means that although I believe it is important to make time for God where we are altogether dedicated to Him, that every moment of my day (and night) already belongs to Him and is already sacred to His purpose.
He doesn’t mind that I spend time in the mundane. He knows those chores are dedicated to His Glory as I serve faithfully in my role as wife and mother. He knows that I see Him in the beauty around me. I hear a bit of music, read a sentence in a book, look at a sunset, watch a television show, and I see the work of His hands through the millions of people on the Earth who show God to me.
And in the hard times, I know that the yoke He asks me to carry feels heavy, but He is carrying the bulk, and is training me to endure, to persevere. He is developing a character in me that is worth ten times the yoke I have borne. He asks me to carry nothing He does not carry Himself. His burden truly is light.
My great pleasure is found when the Holy Spirit in me is most awakened. The bridge in “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns, reading the introduction to “Mere Christianity”, the returned smile of a tired stranger. These have all awakened that Spirit in me this week.
My great passion is in finding ways to awaken that Spirit in others. For me it might be cooking bacon for my husband’s breakfast, or writing a blog, or teaching my Bible study. Whatever it is, I know God is there with me, in the middle of it all.
I went looking today for a list of the American Girl books – you know, Samantha, Molly, Felicity etc.
Because I am the curator of my daughter’s library and I’m trying to be organized so that when she can read, she will have access to the kind of books I think she will love.
I didn’t find an easy answer. However, this community thread directed me to a helpful website:
Source: American Girl Book List – K-8 Curriculum Board – The Well-Trained Mind Community
And I then took it a bit farther and pasted them into a document for myself. Something you could use?
American Girl Book List PDF