I know, that I know, that I know… Lent 11

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We once had a priest that would often say “I know, that I know, that I know” when he tried to explain his believe in Jesus Christ. It became somewhat of a Christian mantra for him.

I get it.

I love when people ask me how do I know that Jesus is real. While not easy to explain, I relish the opportunity to share my faith and what it has meant to me. I know that people want solid proof. They want to hear God’s soft whisper in their ear. They want something tangible that they can hold in their hands. But that is not typically the nature of faith. It is unseen and it is felt…it is simply known.

I think back to the disciples and the followers of Christ while He walked this earth. He could take five fish and feed thousands, He could raise the dead, heal the sick, and forgive the unforgivable. Yet, they still doubted.

When you acknowledge Christ’s presence in your life, you will know. It is a sense of peace and a sense of joy unlike anything this world can offer. I have had moments where I felt the real presence of Christ in my life. I have felt that peace that passes all understanding and I know where it came from. It certainly wasn’t from me.

God dwells deep within my soul and I will never be able to describe it in detail, I just try to live a life that acknowledges His presence and hopefully allows my inner light to shine…just a little or a lot.

I know, that I know, that I know. I wish the same for you.

She took the party with her…

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Creativity inspires me. Specifically, I love to collect various kinds of art. I have old traditional paintings, folk art paintings and sculptures in my home. 

One of my favorite sculptures is called “She took the party with her” and I just love this particular piece. It’s a lady with her hair wildly circling her head and she’s wide eyed and happy. She is in full-on celebration mode. To be honest, it is exactly how I feel. Some would say it is exactly how I look.

When I think about what I want on my headstone…I think those words would be perfect. I’m not a sour Christian. I’m a happy, glorious, in-your-face kinda Christian. Life is joy and life with Christ is something to celebrate.

When I crossover into glory, I hope to have my party shoes on with a heart that is ready to rejoice. Can it get any better than that? I think not.

Let’s party!

God’s lost and found.

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Magazines and experts regularly tell us how we can get papers organized, file cabinets de-cluttered and our in-box emptied. It all seems so possible…until you try. This crazy quest for an orderly life.

I have given in to defeat on organization and decided instead to work on trying to get things in better shape and not to berate myself when things aren’t so. I want to enjoy life and not fret about what is lost or left undone. It takes too much energy to worry all the time about everything having a specific place in life.

Life is messy. Business is messy. Love is messy. Kids are most certainly messy.

Perfection is impossible to achieve but the sooner we recognize that there IS glory in simply trying, the more able we will move on to be more loving people to those around us. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to clean up our act…it just means that sometimes we are able to accomplish great things out of disorder.

To wait for everything to be perfect will be to wait forever.

A dear old friend once told me a motto she repeated to herself daily. I use it all the time. When I’m feeling lost, I say to myself: “Nothing is lost that’s found in Christ.”

…and that is absolutely true.

For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost. Luke 19:10

 

 

 

The Fault in our Stars

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After persistent harassment from my daughter, I finally surrendered and read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I devoured this book in one sitting and finally went to sleep after 3am.

What fascinated me about this novel? I think it was real and honest and truthful. I also think it struck a chord with any of us who have dealt with cancer and its lingering messiness.

When I wrote on social media about the book, one friend privately shared that she had survived the same cancer as one of the characters. I was shocked to hear this news.

So, while we peruse the same words, she sees the books through different eyes. The story resonates in her experienced soul.

As I sat in church this week, I was struck by the fact that this is how it goes with people of faith. We all come to God through different paths. We see the life of Christ through our own unique eyes. It doesn’t change the facts, but it changes how we relate to Him.

Leaving a mark on this world is important. But having my name in the Lamb’s book of life is imperative. That is about as real, honest and truthful as I can be.

Death is inevitable, but a life built on the reality of Christ is forever.

The birth of Christ was announced by a bright and shining star. Fear not my friends, for that is truly the beginning of great joy for all of us.

There’s a Song in the Air – “Holland and Harrington”

In the light of that star, Lie the ages impearled;
And that song from afar, Has swept over the world,
Ev’ry hearth is aflame, and the beautiful sing,
In the homes of the nations that Jesus is King!

Dream Big


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I have a friend who has purchased a batch of baby chicks so that her family can partner together and create some mutually beneficial business.

In other words, she wants them to lay eggs so that her family can eat. She feeds the chicks, they grow, lay eggs and her family gets fed in return. Everything comes full circle. It’s a win-win for all involved.

Recently, her husband put a positive quote in the hen house along with one large egg to encourage the chicks to dream big. I loved this. So let me say to you…

Dream big my peeps!

It’s a simple concept but one we need to remember. I do believe that God dreams big for us and maybe, just maybe, He is putting an ostrich egg of a dream in your thought process that just seems bigger than you can possibly imagine. Little or ordinary things will become more meaningful when you open your mind to possibilities.

Do it…believe and know that God has big dreams for you. We want great things, we have been given great things and we serve a great and mighty God.

What can stop us?

Photo courtesy of Shelley Wilburn

ShelleyWilburn.org

Altar Call

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I grew up in a church that always had an altar call at the end of every worship service.

Three times per week, anyone who felt called by God was given an opportunity to walk to the front of the church and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Technically, once you made your public profession of faith and were baptized, your sins were washed away. You were forgiven. However, some people took this opportunity to re-dedicate themselves to Christ.

I always remember that we had one sweet lady who semi-regularly re-dedicated her life. With great emotion and display she would come before the church to profess her repentance and undying love for Jesus.

This sweet soul re-affirmed her faith so often that it became a running joke if this Sunday was going to be another opportunity for her to come forward.

I think we were wrong. It was no joke.

At our core, we know we are sinners and need God’s grace. Some people feel this more fully than others. But many believe if you have repented and accepted Jesus into your life…a regular public display of remorse is not required by God. He knows we are sin-filled. He knows we love Him. But, He knows our weaknesses and He forgives us regardless.

I miss those days of altar calls. I miss people acknowledging publicly that they have not lived a more Christ-centered life. I also know that every Sunday I would feel the urge to come forward but would stay seated for fear of being ridiculed.

I’m glad Mrs. Ledbetter showed me what it is like to want forgiveness even if she didn’t have to ask so often. Her acts of contrition were an outward and visible reminder to those of us who were too proud to admit the same.

Can I get a witness?

 

The lost art of Letter Writing

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My friend and artist, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson has sent out a plea for people to write her a personal letter. Directions can be found on her blog at http://paperpaintings.growingbolder.com/snail-mail-me/.

Elizabeth uses handwritten letters in her paintings. It is special and poetic and so lovely to see how Elizabeth creates masterpieces from scraps of paper.

I try to write letters as often as possible. There are few things more thoughtful than receiving a hand-written letter from someone. The time it took to write and to think through the writing process is what makes a letter so intimate. It is a dying art form and I wish more people would spend the time writing something to someone once a day. I truly consider it art. So does Elizabeth.

I think back to Paul sitting in prison writing letters to the early Christian churches. Not only did Paul’s letters cheer weary souls but it also showed how much he cared for them even during the worst of circumstances. Paul’s letters live on today in the New Testament with wisdom we still use to enrich our lives.

I doubt Paul realized his letters would travel so far but I’m glad he wrote them. Paul’s writings glorify Christ in a unique and special way.

Send Elizabeth a letter. Better yet, send someone you love a letter.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3