Appreciating Communion

I struggle to find the right words to share with you this beautiful day. I know my words cannot fully explain the depth of all Jesus has done, but I pray that you will be encouraged in some way.

Holy week is a time for reflection. Reflecting on Jesus crucifixion. Reflecting on God’s love. Reflection on our lives; on our relationship with Christ.

Holy Thursday gives us the chance to refocus our hearts on the events of Holy week. A time to remember the first communion. We are also reminded that Jesus came to serve others as well as give his life for our sins.

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One way Jesus remains close to us is through communion. Communion is more than just bread and juice. Every time we receive communion Jesus becomes a part of us. Communion is an outward remembrance of the inward presence of Christ.  This is the personal presence of Jesus in the world today. Communion can be a very powerful experience.

However I can recall a time as a teenager when I was just going through the motions with communion, I didn’t stop believing in it, but it didn’t mean a lot to me. I had stopped appreciating it. It was just something that happened right before worship was over. On our journey home from Taize (which is similar to a retreat) experienced the most powerful communion in my life. It’s something I can’t completely put into words. The pastor who was severing it made it completely personal to the group of teens I was with. She didn’t just read words from a piece of paper, she spoke from her heart. I don’t remember everything she said however I do remember feeling completely overwhelmed and breaking down in tears. That moment I remembered how much God loves me and that He sent his son for me.

It’s not enough to merely go through the motions.

 

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Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover that is what we have been told. Yet sometimes even once we have dived in and are reading there is a drastic change we would never expect in our wildest dreams. At times, we believe whole heartily that we trust a person and the individual is extremely different than reality. Perhaps the person put on a front and we never expect them to betray us when we needed them most. Other times something tragic happens and the person we cherished dearly pushes us away.

Most can recall a time something like this has happened out of the blue. Reason or no reason it is devastating and heart wrenching. On one hand we might like to go back to how things were on the other we might hunger for revenge. Emotions race through us consuming us and dictating our actions or attitude.

Healing from a loss of a friendship is not an easy road. Furthermore, it is a road traveled too often by those who have a chronic illness but that fact does not make it easier. Coping in a healthy way as we move forward is vital.

The truth can hurt. To be completely honest the only One who is completely unwavering is the Lord. He cannot betray us. He will never turn His back on His children. Moreover, His love for His children is too great to put into words. Regardless of what we do He is still there.

Those words of reassurance might bring some comfort at times but there may be times those words offer no comfort at all. To be honest that is perfectly okay. It is okay to not be okay and that our hearts have been shattered in this tragedy because that is not how God intended humans to interact. He intended us to live in community, encouraging one another, and challenging each other to grow closer to Him. However, we live in a fallen world with too much sin truthfully.

My heart breaks for you if you can relate to these words. I do not know when nor how but I promise it will be okay. By God’s grace you my sweet friend will overcome the heartbreak. God is close to the broken hearted, the rejected, and uninvited.  Run towards your loving Savior who will heal your broken heart.

Do not isolate yourself (though it may be tempted and I understand that). A reminder once more, the Lord created us for community just not everyone uplifts us the way they should. Those in our lives should encourage us to thrive and grow in Christ not be a source of stress.Call that person you can always count on for prayer.  During this valley of sorrow practice some self care. You have been though an emotional combat and must recover properly.

Lastly, be certain to pour your heart out to Jesus because He is always listening. Write out your prayers to Him. Rest assured He holds all your tears in a bottle. He understands the heartbreak and devastation. Pick up that devotional you have been meaning to read. Start that Christian book that is under a pile of junk on the counter. Listen to a pod cast or sermon. Take the time to begin studying that book of the Bible you have been meaning to. Join an online Bible study. Do anything to immerse yourself in His Word and His love. Guard your heart. You have victory in Jesus Christ over this.

 

 

Jehovah Jireh (God Our Provider),

We surrender to Your compassionate hand the individual who has deeply hurt us. Allow them to be redeemed by Your grace.

Our hearts have been shattered in ways we never imagined. Things will never be the same. Even though it hurts, Lord Jesus, we will praise You. We will always unending sing Your mighty praise. We are confident that You will heal our hearts. Confident that You will provide and deeply bless us beyond our dreams. Fill us up with You, Jesus. Drench us in Your love. Comfort us. May we grow closer to You.Allow this season of sorrow to bring honor and glory some how to Your precious name. We love You.

Amen

Valentine’s Day

It is a lovely day honoring those we love. To cherish our spouse. A day of cards and candies for children already sweet enough. On the other hand, it can feel discouraging for those who don’t have a significant other. Regardless of where you fall on this Valentine spectrum hear me out. In addition to the mushy stuff, today is a day to honor God, be compassionate to ourselves, and bless someone in our lives.

This day is more than a reminder of our precious love story. It is a reminder of the ultimate love story. “Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins.So, my loved ones, if God loved us so sacrificially, surely we should love one another” 1 John 4:911 The Voice Translation. Take time out of your busy schedule to sit down and have a quality quiet time in honor of Valentine’s day. Spending time with God will without a doubt sweeten your day! Try something different such as praising Him in a new way or writing out Scripture or recording your prayer.

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The Father gently and compassionately handcrafted every cell in your body. He thoughtfully constructed your character. Zealously selecting your talents. The beauty He bestowed on you has depth beyond physical appearance. He delights in You. You dear friend, are the apple of His eye. God is pursuing you. He is doing a mighty and awe-inspiring work in your life beyond your dreams. Blessings are around the corner.

I want to encourage you, precious friend to take even just five minutes to be compassionate to yourself. It can be something extremely simple. A few examples include; making a cup of tea, reading a book, enjoying some time of silence, or doing a face mask.  Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship Romans 12:1.

Lastly, do something sweet for someone outside of your family. Maybe even someone you aren’t close to or someone enduring a struggle. We love because He has first loved us. 1 John 4:19. We are called simply to love on another and to share one anothers burdens. Send a note of encouragement. Offer to help a new Mama with her children. Make a meal for someone who is chronically ill. Ask your friends how you can be specifically praying for them and then pray with them there. Find a simple way to let another person know that you care.

Wishing you a day consumed with love. A day of joy. Time to honor the Lord, those you love, and yourself.

 

Live Loved: Advent

 This is our fourth week of advent, which focuses on God’s love for us. In addition, our love for Christ and for others. God desires nothing more than your love.  He cherishes who you are today with all your imperfections. “The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.” Zephaniah 3:17. God invites you in to have a deep personal relationship with Him. To live loved every day from here on out. God’s love for you surpasses human understanding it is that complex and beautiful.

The Christmas story is laced with love. Christmas points us to the cross where Jesus displayed His amazing love for us. Jesus lived loved in His ministry. God’s love is evident through Scriptures, creation, and our personal lives. “ This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4:10.

An element of living loved, is giving love. Christ enables us to love others. You can give love from where you are today. You don’t need to be wealthy or healthy. You only need a willing heart to serve the Lord and to give love to others. He will surely direct your steps. He will deeply bless your words. A hug, words of encouragement, or praying with someone goes a long way.

Additionally, living loved is praise God with a thankful heart for the simple blessings in your life this advent. Worship Him as the shepherds did in the Christmas story with a sincere heart. Mary also praises the Lord for His favor, “My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!” Luke: 1:46, 47, and 49.

As Christmas draws near find someone to give love to; someone to encourage. Practice living loved this week. You are a child of the one true King. Reflect on His amazing love, which is evident in your life. Remember times this year that you felt His love and praise His holy name. Consider how you can live loved this advent season as well as in the new year.

God,

We praise you for the gift of Your Son consumed with Your love. For His example of love. Thank you for loving us. Allow us to live loved no matter what events play out in our daily lives. Enable us to give love to others. Let us be a blessing to them. May our hearts forever sing Your praises. Bless these days leading up to Christmas. We love you, Lord.

Amen

Thankfulness

Tis the season to be thankful and pass the turkey. Thanksgiving is a magnificent holiday. A time of reflection. Recounting all the blessing in life. Cherishing moments with those we love most.

There are infinite Biblical lessons on thankfulness. Thankfulness in trials, daily life, and for the joys in life are a few examples. Eucharistia is the Greek word for thankfulness. Bible Study Tools additionally defines it as, ” gratitude; giving of thanks, thanksgiving”. An attitude of thanksgiving is a foundational element of a Christian’s life.  At the soul of each element we are thankful for is God.

Not long ago I heard a sermon by Frances Chan (The Author of Crazy Love). He had posed an excellent question, which I would like you to ponder. When is the last time you thanked God for your salvation? Additionally, when is the last time you thanked Him not only for material things but for who He is? Those amazing gifts He has graciously bestowed on you, which are not tangible. When is the last time you thanked Him for your personal relationship with Him? “Praise God for this incredible, unbelievable, indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 The Voice.

While it is excellent to thank God for all the material things and all the countless ways He has provided for you. It is equally important to thank Him for who He is and Your personal relationship with Him. “Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.” Psalm 100:4 The Voice.  Praising God shifts our perspective. It renews our soul. Worship is as vital as air for the soul. 

Elohim,

We adore you. Praising Your holy name. Thank you for the breathtaking gift of salvation, sanctification, and Your agape love. Your love endures forever. We find deep joy in having a personal and daily relationship with You. You have abundantly blessed us beyond anything we could ask. We sing of Your faithfulness. We rejoice in You for the deep blessing of today. Enable us to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Deeply bless this lovely Thanksgiving day.

Amen

 

 

Living Loved

Living loved is an adorable phrase. It would look perfect on my wall or on a t-shirt. The concept is lovely, but actually living loved that is a different story. I had to ask myself, am I living loved? Honestly, it depends on the day. Many days, like tonight I do not feel loved and I do not feel like I am living loved. Living loved shouldn’t be dependent on our circumstances or the people we encounter it should come from the stability of the love Jesus pours out to us. This is a new concept for me. Maybe living loved is a new concept for you as well. We can work through what this practically looks like together.

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To live loved I need to be filled with God’s love.“I needed to reconnect with the One who knows how to breathe life and love back into the dead places. Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life like abiding, and , delighting, and dwelling…” I need to have my quiet time, daily. Ideally, this would be three hours minimum. Realistically it is usually an hour and a half to two hours. No, it’s not impressive I am desperate for my time with God. Just like the amount of time everyone’s body needs is unique to them so is the amount of quiet time one needs.

Living loved is pouring out love. Some days this comes naturally. However, I become discouraged when I feel as though I am endlessly pouring into certain people with no response. Finding balance when pouring into people is essential. Blessing others  ultimately blesses us. Walking into a situation as Lysa says looking to bless others.

Precious friends, ” and live in love as the Anointed One loved you—so much that He gave Himself as a fragrant sacrifice, pleasing God.” Ephesians 5:2The Voice

Lord,

Enable us to lived loved completely confident in You. Thank you for the depth of Your love. Allow us to pour blessings into others lives. To invite others in and help them to feel loved. Fill us with Your goodness. We love you.

Amen

Dear Uninvited

Dear Uninvited,

Left out, less than, and lonely are just a few words to describe how you feel. The depth of you isolation makes you feel numb. Unworthy. Emotions race. Questions taunt you. Betrayal crumbles your confidence. Everyone belongs somewhere but you. Rejection slices into the core of who you are. The wound is deep. Lies replay like a broken record.  Burdened.

Sweet friend, you have not been set aside, but set apart by God. You are deeply loved. No matter what happens God can never love you more or less than He does in this moment right now. His love is flawless. Whole. You are completely cherished. God understands how every moment of your life will unfold. Before, He laid the foundation of the Earth, He had you on His mind.

You are invited in. Always accepted. And deeply loved by Jesus.