This is my life, my love, my happiness. I love my family.
Thank you, God, for giving me the keys to my heart, and for the sheer happiness my husband causes me.
Periodically I rid my purse of the junk and trash I somehow always seem to accumulate. When I do this, I also clear out my wallet and search the bottom of my purse for any spare change.
It was almost laundry day, and I was digging in my purse for quarters, thinking of ways to keep God centralized in my life. It was then that I noticed something so unimportant, so normal, that I almost didn’t notice it at all. A penny. Pennies are everywhere. There are pennies in my purse, my couch, the laundry basket, on the ground, and even in the “need a penny, take a penny” jar at gas stations. How many times have I stepped over pennies, and not given them a second thought? Until I spotted the penny in my purse, I thought that the value of one penny is simply one cent.
But that day, I realized the value of one penny to be far greater than just the monetary value. On each penny is stamped the same thing: “In God we trust.”
Psalm 62:8 says to “Trust in him (God) at all times, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV)
Every time you see a penny, let it be a reminder to you that God is your safe place. He is your refuge, and in him should you place your trust. He is waiting with open arms for you.
“Take hold of my words with all your heart…” Proverbs 4:4 (NIV)
How lovely is this verse. When our world is spinning out of control, we can keep God right in our hearts so he can be our compass.
Early in life I was taught to memorize scriptures so I could defend my religion. But years later, a pastor taught me not to recite the word of God to be prideful or vain, or simply to recite it. He also taught me not to cast stones at those who are different or who are sinning (glass house theory here… I’d have a lot of broken windows in my house) but to open my arms in welcome and to invite them to get to know God with me. Now I see that it is important to know the word of God so that in desperate times of need, anger, fear, or temptation, I can call on God. I can call on my rock, my refuge, and crawl into his hands for safe keeping.
My heart embraces his word. What a lovely, full feeling it brings me.
Not that I’m trying to, but I cannot get away from this scripture:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136 1 and 26 (NIV).
Everywhere I turn, I am finding this scripture. I was reminded of it on Thanksgiving day, and I did thank my Lord for everything, and for his unfailing love for me. I have randomly flipped to this passage in the Bible, seen it in e-mail devotionals, found it written on a note stuck to some papers in my purse. Am I not thanking my God enough? Or do I not yet understand the meaning of the scripture?
I am reminded of the Shane and Shane song based on this scripture. What a beautiful song that really captures the intensity of the words “endure” and “forever”.
When my husband and I were dating, and I was a new Christian, he said something profound to me about God’s love. We were watching music videos to some beautiful worship songs by Hillsong United, and out of the blue he said “God is the only man who will never break your heart, leave your side, or disappoint you.” This is not to say that my husband has ever hurt my heart, but the fact is that we, as humans, have the ability to hurt one another, often times without meaning to.
What a beautiful relationship I have with God. Even though I make mistakes and don’t listen, God loves me. As I strive to be like God, I fix my eyes on him and give him thanks for his unfailing, enduring, forever love.
Oh great Lover of my soul, thank you for sending Jesus as the demonstration of your love. I love you Father. I love you for who you are and what you have done. I love you for what you have promised. I love you for the blessings you shower upon me, even when I am undeserving. I love you for giving me hope in a hopeless world. I love you because you first loved me. I love you because you are worthy of all love and praise. But I confess that my love is not as strong as yours, so please, fill me with your love by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus I lift my heart to you. Amen.”
Gone are the days of making things from scratch in the kitchen, with family running in and out, laughing, sharing the moment.
I wanted to make Halloween cookies with my friend to ring in the holiday the way I did growing up. I remember how Mom and I would make the sugar cookie dough, roll it out with flour on our rolling pins, and then we would use various Autumn-shaped cookie cutters to bring the cookies to life. Ghosts, leaves, pumpkins, even a squirrel shaped cutter made up the bunch. The homemade frosting was a simple recipe of confectioner’s sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and food coloring. What a blast we had decorating (and eating) the cookies.
This year I went to the store to purchase the ingredients for the cookies and frosting, because I’m not much of a baker, and don’t keep them in the cupboards. As I expected, I calculated that it would cost more to purchase all the ingredients, than to simply buy pre-made dough, and frosting in a container.
I did the latter. We had a blast decorating the cookies, but it wasn’t the same as taking the time to make home-made cookies.
Sometimes I think we try to worship God quickly, like running to the store to buy the pre-made items we need for a holiday treat. We read a Bible verse here, pray a quick prayer there, go to church every few Sundays. To have a relationship with God means just that. It’s a relationship, and like all of them, this one takes work. More so on our part. God has already done his part. It’s up to us to meet him in the living room ready and willing to learn.
In the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible book of Luke, Martha is running around, rolling out cookie dough and pressing firmly on the Autumn cookie cutters. She’s dusting and cleaning, cooking and singing, but she’s not ready to hear the Lord’s message. Mary, on the other hand, knows Jesus for who he is, and sits at his feet, listening to him with an open heart.
Take the time to work on your growing relationship with Jesus. Feed the relationship throughout the day, every day. Move him at the top of your priority list, because you are already at the top of his.
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…” Luke 10:40-42 (NIV)