Friday, October 2, 2015

EVEN Today

Each Wednesday night, anywhere from 7-10 young ladies pile in my little living room, eager to study the word of God.  I never saw it in my stars to lead a small group of middle and high school aged girls, but The Lord had plans that I never imagined.  Over the last year, my heart has been knitted with theirs and I like to think of myself as their cool big sister…because heaven knows I am not old enough to be a mom.  Ok, ok... so maybe I am.  Yikes!

You parents out there will understand what I mean by the term “learn from my mistakes”.  Although I have no biological children, I can still pass this on to my “spiritual children”.  When I was their age, making bad choices was my hobby.  It’s what I was good at.  And trust me when I say I was no amateur.  You could follow me around and you’re bound to see the majority of decisions I made on a daily basis at that age end up in disaster.  Why?  Because I made decisions based on what Katy wanted.  It was all about me. 

Ok, now back to small group.  One of the things I remind the girls of no less than four times on a given Wednesday is that the choices they make now matter.  I am pretty sure I thought my teenage years were mulligan years and that they didn’t count.  But as I have grown, I see that every single choice we make echoes into eternity.  I want these precious girls to learn from the mistakes I made when I was their age. 

I have a prayer that I pray each day that helps focus my heart on the One who deserves all of my attention.  It focuses on today, and reminds me that life is a gift…one to be received one day at a time.  It’s simple, but it’s life-altering and life-giving. 
“Lord, I give you my “yes” today.”  
See, I told you!  Simple!  But it changes the very core of who I am.  
No matter what you ask Lord, you have my “yes today”.  

I cannot help but think of the students who gave their very last “yes” to Jesus when Christopher Harper Mercer walked into Umpqua Community College with one question in mind: “are you a Christian?”  It stopped me in my tracks to read that in the headlines.  These faithful-until-death-souls gave Jesus their ultimate and final "yes".  And in an unfortunate act of violence…within minutes…saw the Lord.  Wow.  So, I put myself in that situation… you see, it’s easy to give the Lord my “yes today” when everything seems ok.  But what about when I am standing in the very face of persecution?  

It is my prayer that when those days come, even if it means it's my last, that I will say…”Lord, I give you my yes….EVEN today”.  

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
John 6:68

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Wedding Day, Your Wedding Day...

Ever studied through the book of Revelation?  My pastor has done an excellent job unpacking the oh-so-complex book, and every single week, I am blown away!  I have never studied Revelation on my own, partly because I thought it was scary.  And partly because it talks about dragons with lots of heads and I don’t know what to make of that.  But, since Deric has started walking us through, I have been so eager to learn more from week to week.  We are in Chapter 11, and last week our super talented worship leader introduced us to a new song…and it echoes some of the last words from John “Even so, come Lord Jesus, come!”  Today, before we sang the song, he challenged us to stop and think about the words we were singing.  So often, I sing the words to songs simply because they are on the screen.  But today, it was different.

“Like a bride waiting for her groom…we’ll be a church ready for you.  Every heart longing for our King…we sing 'Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come'"

Go ahead, just listen to it here.

That particular line in the song just gets me.  
Do I really understand what it means to be a bride waiting on King Jesus? 

Now, as you know, I am single and never experienced being a bride, but I have, many times, been one that has been honored to stand by one of my beautiful bride friends on their wedding day.  And oh my goodness, the days and weeks and months that lead to the wedding are FULL of planning and making sure every detail is in order.  It goes a little something like this:  we have to order dresses, taste cakes, get a garter, make a playlist, practice makeup, get the perfect hairstyle, decide on a venue, get the perfect shoe, and don’t forget something old, new, borrowed and blue!   And more times than I can even remember, I have been standing by a bride in the back of the church as she prepares to walk down the aisle to the man she will spend the rest of her life with.  The nerves won’t seem to subside and the excitement oozes from every corner of the room! As the doors swing open, you can feel the anticipation of the guests with eyes strictly on the one in white, as it builds to the climactic moment when the bride lays her eyes on her groom for the very first time! My breath has been taken away by this once in a lifetime moment more times than I can count! 

And, all of this has been from a third party perspective! 
I cannot even imagine how the actual bride feels!

Today as we were singing those rich words, I was brought to tears by the fact that I AM A BRIDE…something I have always wanted to be since I was a little girl!  We all dream of our beautiful white gown, with our favorite color popping around the room, our friends standing by us, and dancing with our daddy at the reception.  And today, I realized that I will, no doubt, experience a wedding, not as a bridesmaid, but as a BRIDE!  With the new mercies that God promises each day when my feet hit the floor, I am one day closer to my wedding day. And as much as I long for an earthly husband, I know that it is meant to serve as a reminder that I will experience an even greater day-and the perfect husband. I am humbled beyond words that the Creator of everything and everyone has chosen me to be his bride!  But above choosing me, he has chosen his church…the ones that truly trust in him! And those days, weeks, and months preceding that day is NOW.  What am I doing to build up the ones that he loves, his church?  Am I being faithful?  Am I inviting everyone to this wedding day…because oh what a celebration it will be!  Our Heavenly groom has sent out the ultimate invitation, and we get to tell everyone we know about this day!  Are all of the details in order?  And the question we must answer as his church is this: will we be a bride that is ready, one that is presented beautifully and without blemish to our Lord?  Ouch.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a church that truly is ready for him.  

As my lips sang those words today, my heart, too, was able to sing a new song…with spiritual eyes that see that this world is not my home and that my wedding day is coming!  Your wedding day is coming.  May we prepare our hearts and our lives for his return! 

"For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called"
Isaiah 54:5

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hanging On Every Word

"And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words"
Luke 19:47-48

This time of year, probably more so than any other, God’s word is read and facebook status-ed (is that a word?!) and tweeted.  You see it everywhere.  I even instagrammed it this past weekend on Palm Sunday.  We all read about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, and the crowds waving palm branches. And then we probably all read the story of Jesus standing before the crowds and Pontius Pilate.  And of course the horrific death of Jesus, followed by the most glorious words...

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen!”
Luke 24:5-6

But this week as I was reading, I noticed something in between I have never noticed before-just after Jesus enters Jerusalem and after he cleanses the temple.  In the same temple in which he overturned tables, he teaches.  And of course, people were out to get him.  They wanted to find a reason to destroy him.  But they couldn’t.  Why? 
Because the people were hanging on his words. 

They believed every word that came out of his mouth.  Even when the circumstances seemed rocky and unsure, they hung on his words.  And the ones wanting to take his life noticed.  And relented.  

It just made me stop and think about how different my life would be if that were true of me.  If, in every area of my life, I would just hold onto the very words of Jesus. 
Not my emotions.  Not the words of man.  But the Word of God.  
Would I love others more?  Would I serve others more?  Would I trust him more?  Would I sleep better at night?  Would I experience more joy? Would I feel more secure even when my circumstances weren't?  

And above all, wouldn't it honor him? 

I think the answer is a resounding "yes".

Oh, that I would be a woman that hangs onto the very word of God!