Monday, September 4, 2017

Day 6 - Delight

Read Matthew 3:11-17.  Read it slowly, and read it aloud if you can.

Was there a word or phrase that stuck out to you?  Take a few moments to think or write down your reflections.  Why does that word/phrase strike you?  

Read the passage again, slowly, aloud.  

That word or phrase that stuck out to you, ponder it again.  What could it have meant to the person who said it, or the ears that heard it?  What does it mean to you, today?

Read the passage one final time.

Talk with Jesus about the thing that stood out to you the most from the passage.  Ask Him if there's anything He'd like you to hear from him, or remember, or do.  

Jesus, as I read this section about John and you, I was struck by several things; but the one that stood out to me the most was what you heard from your Father.  "This is my one dear son in whom I take great delight."  My mind is constantly full of all the things I know I do wrong, or poorly.  I constantly fight a battle in my mind to not speak ill of my self and what work I might accomplish each day.  Too rarely do I ask you what You say about me.  Help me to hear the words of my Father.  What would you speak from Heaven for me to hear?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Day 5 - What Fruit Follows Your Actions?

Matthew 3:1-10

I had a long conversation with a friend the other day about parenting and motherhood and why I chose to have kids.  (I have several friends who long to have kids and have not physically been able to, so I feel like saying that "I chose to have kids" isn't entirely true.  I never longed to have kids; but I did choose to try to have kids biologically and it happened to work for us.)  My friend is struggling to find a desire to pursue motherhood; in the meantime her husband is longing to be a dad. 

I processed some thoughts with her about my own spiritual formation as a parent and learning to love like God loves and dying to my own selfish desires.  Our conversation left me also pondering the effects that my parenting has on our children.  I wonder how my actions and attitudes influence my sons?  Do they know a Mommy who recognizes she is not super human but needs help?  Do they hear me talking about Jesus?  Talking to Jesus?

Go back to your Bible and read verses 8-10 again. Repentance is pointless if my life doesn't change. Confessing Jesus as my Lord and Savior isn't a true confession if my attitudes and actions don't continue to conform to Christ.  

Jesus, help me see how to live daily a life of true repentance that even my children can see and feel.  What can I do or say today that will help them see what a life of repentance looks like?  Thank you for your grace again, day after day, to learn to walk with you.  I love you.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day 4 - Who are you Listening to?

Read Matthew 2:13-23

So many parts of this passage seem significant.  Again, Joseph responds in obedience.  Herod reacts with awful violence and children die...children the ages of my own.  God protects Joseph and his little family.  They are saved and find a home town.

Three times in this passage, however, the prophets are mentioned.  I called my Son out of Egypt, Jeremiah's lament, and He will be called a Nazarene.  Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophets had something to say; and their words were important.

Whose words am I listening to?  What voices encourage me or affirm me?  Are there people (or media) that I should stop listening to?  Are there other voices that I should listen to instead?

Father, forgive me for filling up my soul with others words and not your own.  Show me how to filter wisely.  Help me hear the voices that are perhaps ignored by others but should be heeded.  Help me live the words that others need to "hear".  By your grace and love, amen.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Day 3 - How Far Will You Journey to Give Your Gifts to God?

Read Matthew 2:1-12

I'm struck by a theme I've noticed so far since beginning the book of the Matthew. People are willing to be obedient to God in extravagant, amazing ways.

The wise men traveled who knows how far and how many months to meet Jesus to give him their gifts. I wonder how far I would you go to worship God. How far would you go? I don't mean how far will you drive to the church that has the best worship leader or how far will you travel to find a church that suits your needs. I'm asking how far are you willing to go give Jesus whatever he's inviting you to give to him?

Jesus, I get weary of trying to find you, sometimes.  I know you have given me gifts and talents to steward and give back to you.  But it feels like it takes forever to figure out what that means.  Help me to stay the course until I find you and can lay those treasures at your feet.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Day 2 - Compassionate Courage

Compassionate Courage

Read Matthew 1:18-25

When I read this part of Jesus' story, I feel like God is saying:
"Ok Joe. I know you're trying to do the noble thing here and protect Mary's reputation as much as you can, but I want you to do the crazy thing instead. Put your reputation on the line and go ahead and marry her. Adopt the baby. Name him. Yep, you heard me right. This little miracle is going to save everyone."

How would that strike you? How could you respond to such a crazy thing? Joseph doesn't seem to wrestle with the idea at all. He just does it. Courage, faith, compassion, obedience.

What do you see in God's character from this story of Joseph? What is important to Him?

Is there a crazy thing God is inviting you to do? Something that seems to go beyond common sense or even wisdom? What is God inviting you to take a step of compassionate courage toward?

Pray with me:

Jesus, I'm so thankful Joseph took care of you and Mary. Thank you for that example of selfless love. Show me today how to follow your call to live life with reckless love. How shall I love you well today? How shall I love others well today? My day, my time, my life belongs to you. I love you. Amen.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Just a few minutes with Jesus - Day 1

My friend, Tara, and I were commiserating this week about how difficult it can be as moms of very young children to make time to be with Jesus. And even if we do make time, our minds are often so scattered and tired that focus in near impossible. We read the same scripture over and over and nothing sticks or barely even registers.

So I thought I would try to write up some little reflections as I read through the Gospel according to Matthew. Tara, I hope these are helpful. If you have any ideas to make them better, or things you'd like to see included or changed, please comment!

Enjoy a little time with Jesus.


Lord, what in me is waiting for redemption?

Read Matthew 1:1-17

Look back over this genealogy. What women are mentioned? (If you don't know their stories, go ahead and look them up if you have time). Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah, and Mary. Tamar was treated unjustly and consequently prostituted herself to her father in law. Rahab was a prostitute who risked her life to save Hebrew spies. Ruth wasn't even Hebrew at all. The wife of Uriah is unnamed, emphasizing the fact that she was someone else's wife. And Mary is lumped in with these....heroines of the faith? She is the wife of Joseph. Mary who birthed Jesus.

Of all the women Matthew could have included in Jesus' family tree, he picked these. Why? I don't know. I'm sure I could do some research to find out. But until then, this is what sticks out to me: God is not afraid or ashamed to make something remarkable, beautiful and redemptive from things that are unseemly or painful.

What darkness in your life, or your past, or your family is waiting...perhaps longing to be redeemed? Is there a way that part of your story could be brought to the light and used to show God's remarkable love and immeasurable grace?

Take a few moments to think about or write down what in your own story is waiting to be redeemed.

Pray with me:

Jesus, thank you for claiming Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary in your family. Thank you for also choosing me despite my history. Show me today how to be part of your work of redemption in my family, my community, and my world. For your glory, Amen.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

I wrote this poem after meditating on Mark 16 back in 2015. I don't often write poetry, but for some reason this one stuck with me for a long time and I kept thinking about it for months afterwards. I remembered it today as the Church celebrates the Resurrection. I hope it blesses you.

Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

Early I rise to lie spices
upon your rotting flesh
Sweet scent to smother stench

Distracted by distraught
I remember late, already on my way
the stone, too large
Blocks this anointing aroma from piercing the darkness.

Who will roll away the stone?

Sun still sleeping.
No one yet risen.
No one alive. 

Who will help me?

Not a small thing, this rock.
Stone the weight of my heart's sorrow.
Mass of sadness and dashed dreams.


Light shines from the tomb!
Darkness should be there.
Disintegrating hopes, decomposing flesh.
Instead light composes melodies of wonder.

Hope rises

Stone of my heart rolled away!
A stranger testifies, offers peace.
Feel not shock of emptiness
Feel joy in fullness 

Go! Now!

Re-directed passion
No longer hasten to the tomb of sorrow in the darkness
But hasten to my brothers, the disciples.

And Peter.            
Hasten to Peter.
Tell him it's a race and "I'll beat you there."

Risen Son, you always "beat me there."
On my way to death you got there first.
And everyday you go before me to
Roll away the stone of my heart.