Monday, March 31, 2014

Let love have the run of the house Part 3 Passionate Love Series


In the kitchen it sounds like thunder up above me.  Not a spring thunderstorm outside, but the heavy pattering of kids feet running down the hall on the floor above me.  Back and forth and quick stops then I hear the stomping again.  What sounded like a dinosaur trampling room to room, I hear scream-squeals that somehow make me know they’re ones of joy from our younger daughter as big brother chases her with his Nerf gun in hand.

They don’t have a worry in their world and are simply loving the moment.  Even though they don’t realize it, they’re loving on each other in the security of the four walls around them.

That is what comes to my mind when I read from the Message 1 John 4:17-18 as I continue this series about God’s passionate love for us.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and matures in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.”

How beautiful is the trust that GOD IS LOVE takes up permanent residence in your life.  God comes on in when you welcome Him and becomes part of your HOME.  It makes you want to run free and wild and in and out of every room, up and down the stairs with childlike glee. 

We’re free of worry and full of joy like our children do as they run crazy in their home with no fear.  The Holy Spirit is living proof that He wants us to live in Him and He in us.

I not only want that love and the Holy Spirit running through me, but also through our home.  In the four walls of each room and in each member of our family’s hearts.

Love has the run of the house…”  that’s what I want in our house.  As a mom, I need to try to make our home a safe place where love is found in every nook and cranny along with the dust balls.  I desire for the love Jesus has for our kids instilled in every nook and cranny in their soul.  Put reminders of God’s promises on posters, scripture stickers on the mirrors, read it out loud at the dinner table.  Pray for them, over them, with them.  Tell them over and over how much they’re loved.  Love well.  Love with devotion.




And love on them as they mature so their “standing in this world is identical with Christ’s”.

Let love…like the passionate love God has for us…have run of your house, your home, your heart.

Monday, March 24, 2014

God.Loves.Deeply. Rely on Him.



It was love at first sight to see the bud of a flower after the winter we’ve had (although they’re calling for more snow tomorrow here in the South).  It was joy to see them stretch out their praise to their Creator this morning.

I’m continuing to mull over the words found in 1 John 4:13-22 as I continue this little series of posts about the passionate love God has for us.  The instructions John gives is to know and rely on God caught my attention.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.”

1 John 4:16 

I looked that verse up in different translations and found this...God wants to make sure we knowhow much he loves us’, ‘he loves us dearly’, ‘we know the love that God has for us, we’re to trust that love,’ and ‘rely on the love God has for us’.

Rely on His love.   


He loves relentlessly, recklessly, and wreckfully and by that He’s lately been turning my little world around and is messing up plans I had of my own.

When God’s Spirit is telling you to stop going the same way you’ve been going for a long time and turn a new direction, it’s rattling, unnerving, unpredictable.  Relying on God’s love is what gets you to turn and take that step down this new, narrow road. 

I must rely on His will, rely on His plan, rely on His promises, rely on His protection, rely on His forgiveness - when I let go of trust while turning my head back where I had been -wanting to run back. 

I must rely on the cross.  Who would ever want to rely on a cross?  Rely on planks of wood where hands and feet were nailed into?  Rely on the cross that held the man whose blood poured onto it?  Rely on the cross when Jesus, the love-forevermore and sinless man died on it?  Rely on that cross because it hung our Savior?

I must rely on Jesus whom the cross held.

Rely on Jesus.  Not myself.

There’s been plenty of times when I’ve relied on myself when I try to do life my way.  I say, “I’ve got things under control, God.  I’ll handle this one on my own.  Everything’s a smooth ride at the moment and life’s on cruise control, so I don’t need you right now.” 

Or how about when I’m stressed and make poor decisions out of reaction or choose to avoid pain or suffering by carrying someone else’s cross instead of being willing to carry someone’s burden like Jesus did?  The human that I am, I tried to do everything I can to avoid suffering.  I’m not proud of that.  For so long I’ve want my world to be peachy-keen and do everything possible to avoid anything that may cause me to suffer. 

Jesus wants me to trust in and rely on Him, not trust in and rely on myself. 

Whatever that may be.  Trust in suffering, trust in joy.  Rely on His promises, rely on Him.

I cannot hope to follow Christ and live life for Him if I’m trusting and relying on myself and if I’m not trusting in, and relying on Christ.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus relied on the cross to hold the massive weight of all of our sins he was carrying - mine included.  While on the cross, Jesus relied on his Father’s promise of being victorious by crushing satan.  Jesus trusted on the promise of eternal life at the right hand of His Father. 

Jesus relied on the passionate love of His Father.

Jesus wants us to rely on and trust in the passionate love he lavishes on us.

Relying on relishing on that promise…that God loves us deeply, passionately.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Un-expectantly Amushed: Part 2 of Passionate Love


As I mentioned last week, I’m going to do a little series to focus of the passionate love God has for us as Holy Week draws near.   While doing this, I’m personally going to try to dissect 1 John 4:13-21 over the next few weeks and you’re welcome to read, and even more, share your thoughts on these verses in the comments at the end.    

 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.”   (1 John 4:13-15)


As a mom, I want to think of myself as a “know-it-all” when it comes to raising our kids…   or I confess I at least try to make myself appear that way to them. But honestly, I know for sure I’m not a ‘knower of all things’.  No way near.  They know I don’t know everything about numerical expressions or am able to have a conversation speaking fluently in Spanish with someone like they can and do, but it’s true I am older and hopefully a little wiser than our children when it comes to knowing some things about life.  I simply hope I can instill some of what I do know to be true in their hearts and minds. 

Speaking of knowing and wisdom, a few weeks ago I was reading and studying 1 John 4 coupled with the wisdom of those verse from Tim Keller.  One of the questions he asked was, “Why are personal knowledge and personal acknowledgement of God’s character essential to knowing him?”

I started thinking about that.  I got out my notebook and jotted down my answer: “Knowledge is the fact or state of knowing.  Acknowledge is to admit to be real or true.  We must know His Word which is the Truth and must admit we believe His Word is true.”

I then read Tim’s answer to his question:Knowledge of God includes the acknowledgement of God: who He is and how we are to respond to Him.”   Well said.

Then, I closed my journal and went on my way to check things off my to do list.  When I got back home, I had a little time before my daughter got home from school and began writing a post for SMCW.   Somehow, the phrase “turn the blind eye” came to my mind but I honestly needed to look for the definition of it to make sure I was using it correctly (which I wasn’t, by the way.)  Turn the blind eye” means “to knowingly refuse to acknowledge something which you know to be real.”

Wow.  Isn’t it so amazing how you can read something in the Bible in the morning and then later in the day, out of the middle of nowhere, something that relates to that verse un-expectantly ambushes you?  I was just reading about the difference between knowledge and acknowledge earlier that day and a few hours later, a phrase just “pops in my head” so I look it up and the definition of it includes both of those words! 

Then I stop in my tracks and think: When have I turned my blind eye in my life?  When have I chosen not to acknowledge God and His Word even though I know it’s real?  I was too embarrassed to speak my faith out loud.  I feared what other’s might think of me.  I took the praise from people of a personal accomplishment instead of giving credit to God.  I think “Oh, I know what’s best – I’m in control of my life” and ignore the Spirit that’s saying,  “Only God is the One who knows all things.  You knowingly refused to acknowledge Me even though you know I’m real.”

Passio.  Passion.  Christ suffered on the cross because of the times I’ve refused to acknowledge or ignore Him.  This I know.

I’ve learned there’s such a huge distinction between knowing and acknowledging. To acknowledge God and His Word is way different from knowing some stories in the Bible you’ve heard and read.  Acknowledging is admitting and proclaiming: God you are God. God, You gave me Your Spirit.  God, I testify that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to be our Savior

When we read, say and believe God’s Word and ask His Spirit to dwell in us, that is when God lives in us. 

As we’re approaching the week that leads up to Jesus’ crucifixion, I’m acknowledging that He selflessly and passionately sacrificed Himself for us - simply because he passionately loves us.  

He loves us with passion.

Acknowledge God for who He is; don’t just know about Him.  Daily take time to acknowledge and tell Him and others that He is Who He says He is and that He is good.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What’s your definition of passion? Part 1 of Passionate Love



I love the warmer temperatures quickly melted away all the ice that shut our town down for a few days.


I love that it’s basketball March Madness time!

I love that one of our cars is finally fixed because we’ve had to operate on one car for 2 weeks.

The words, “I love…” have become so common, almost ordinary.  But love is anything but ordinary because it can be both simple and complex.

So, what does love mean?  Love can be defined as a passionate affection for someone.  Yes, for someone.

Passionate.  I think that’s a pretty strong word.  It sounds expressive, even striking.  Maybe because it is.

When I think of the word passionate, I think it’s something, or someone, you strongly desire or an intense love for something that energizes you.

Except for the Linguistics class I took in college, I don’t normally look for the origin of words, even though I’ve always thought the history of words pretty fascinating.  But I looked up the origin of the word ‘passion’.  It’s a Latin word “passio” which means “Christ’s suffering on the cross.”

“Christ’s suffering on the cross” is the original definition of passion

Christ’s suffering on the cross is passionate love.  A passion like no other.

Over the past month, I’ve been studying the Bible with some other women as we’ve been dissecting the book of 1 John in the New Testament.  There’s been many parts in this book that have been jumping out to me and I’m feeling the need to write it out so I don’t forget it.  I think the Spirit has something to do with this especially because Holy Week and Jesus’ resurrection is drawing near. 

The words God, love, live, know, Jesus, to name a few keep showing up in those few verses. Woven throughout all of those sentences is the thread of the passion God has for us.   

And the beautiful thing I’m discovering is when we experience Jesus’ passionate love, it ignites the passions we have in ourselves.

Through the next month, I’m going to try unpacking what this passionate love is all about in 1 John 4:13-21 and you’re welcome to join me in this journey.  I’m planning to post on Mondays so keep a look out.


Until then, marinate these words…. 

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.  Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And he has given us this command:Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”   1 John 4:13-21 (NIV)

Monday, March 10, 2014

An icy surprise


Holding onto this promise as our area in NC is still recovering from our unexpected ice storm that took down many homes, trees, wire lines and left thousands without power…and still do not have power. 

Even though the ice caused many troubles, there was still beauty in the mess.  There was beauty God’s ice sculptures but also to see and be part of community joining together to clean up.  Neighbors who you hardly see crawl out of their homes with chainsaws, shovels, gloves, helping hands, feet and backs along with chuckles and conversations.  People opening their homes, sofas, kitchens and heat to those without it just around the corner.


We’re ever so grateful for all the people who work overtime and going out of their way to help the needs of those in our area.









Let us consider this icy surprise a trust opportunity that spring is right around the corner, cold days are going to melt away and we will have new life and exciting new beginnings!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Give or Give up?


Today can be the first day of a new journey.

It’s the first day of Lent.  Ash Wednesday.

For Christians, Lent is the 40 days before Easter Sunday.  It was originally designed to be an act of fasting, repentance, and spiritual discipline like Jesus did in the wilderness, while also reflecting on the suffering and sacrifice Jesus did on the cross for our salvation and the eternal joy of resurrection to new life.

Oftentimes people choose to “give up” something during Lent.  People give up chocolate, soda, late night snacks, or Facebook to name a few.  I’ve given up things in the past, but lately I’ve been asking myself:  "Was I doing that just because it's a ritual I'm supposed to do?  Did I really give something up as an offering to Jesus or did I give something up in order to kick a bad habit so I’d feel better about myself?”   Honestly, in years past, I confess I personally have used Lent as an excuse to kick a bad habit.

Did I truly struggle and wrestle like Jesus did those 40 days when he was tempted in the desert?  He gave his hunger, struggles, and temptations to God in prayer.  He gave His devotion and his holy trust wholly to the Lord to get him through those long 40 days.

So Lent…it’s all about giving.  Giving Jesus ourselves because Jesus has given Himself for our life.


So, does Lent only have to be giving up something to keep us focused on Jesus?  What about giving something?  Intentionally.  Daily.  Sacrificially?

Do you have a spiritual discipline that’s a struggle for you to do daily but you’re willing to intentionally practice as a sacrificial offering to Jesus for the next 40 days?

What if you:

Give Jesus more time in the Word by turning off the TV at night?

Meditate daily and memorize one Scripture verse each week during Lent that has to do with trust, forgiveness, repentance, sacrifice, and resurrection?

Give God more of your time in prayer by getting up 15 minutes earlier each day?

Read a book about spiritual growth instead of being on social media?

Give Jesus that thing you struggle with on a daily basis, like trusting Him, letting go of guilt, or forgiving someone that’s hard to forgive?

Give intentional time with your children at dinner each night and read the Bible together as a family?

Give RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) daily?  That truly can be a sacrifice in many ways.  It’s so easy to have tunnel vision in your own world with busy schedule and not think that you can make a difference and be Jesus to those around you.  One person at a time.

I encourage you to give daily.  Jesus gave daily.  He gave all of his time, energy, passion and love to people.  He gave over his temptations, challenges, suffering and struggles to his heavenly Father to save us.

This Lent season can be the beginning of a new life journey because it doesn't have to stop on Easter Sunday.  What you choose to give or give up can be a life time practice, a way of living as a daily gift to Jesus for the sacrifice he gave of Himself for you and for me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

There’s no plan of coming to a stop


I seem to be having a writer’s block even though my mind is racing these days.

I’m not posting as much because lately I’ve had new responsibilities and deadlines, uncertainties and struggles that are getting in the way of my personal writing and dreaming.  I’m not making a fuss about them because they’re good and some, if anything, are stretching me out of my comfort zone which can be a worthy thing.

Honestly, it’s probably a writer’s block because I’m just trying to keep up with life.

But there’s points in life where you’re put (often whether you like it or not) in places to shake life up a little bit.  They are those points in life that might be pointing you in a new direction.

Maybe there’s writer’s blocks with a holy purpose to make you start paying attention to things still unseen. 

Does any of this make sense to me?

My blog posts have not been as frequent lately and I can’t say it’ll be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing like it used to be for the next little bit.  There might not be a schedule of posts like I’ve done in the past and that’s so weird for me because I like to schedule everything.  But for this, for now, it’s going to be when I feel the need. 

And that’s OK.

Because, there’s no plan of coming to a stop

There’s no plan to stop because I still feel the need to write, encourage and post. 

There’s no plan to stop giving credit, glory and thanks to God for all the gifts He so freely gives. 

My “gift radar” stays on because it becomes part of who you are when you notice them with intention and purpose…the purpose to remember who Jesus is and what He’s done for you and for me.



Still counting and thanking God for the gifts and joys He longs and loves to give:

#1918  walking dog in the snow


#1919  dog loving the snow

#1920  the silence of snow falling to the ground


#1921  worshipping Jesus in a conference room

#1922  the unity experienced with other women at the  IF:Gathering

#1923  Hearing others spiritual gifts

#1924  kitchen and laundry room cluttered with wet winter clothes


#1925  snow falling hard

#1926  making snow angels





#1927  kids building a big, deep fort

#1928  making snow cream for the first time




#1929  husband making broccoli and cheese soup

#1930  hearing a 2 year old squeal with joy sledding down a hill in the snow

#1931  playing in the most snow we’ve had in several years






#1932  making homemade donuts with friends



#1933  learning from a woman 14 years younger than me

#1934  listening to someone’s big dreams and passions

#1935  hearing a message at church about Exodus 3…Moses and giving God excuses why he didn’t think he could do anything except watch sheep.

#1936  the first flowers I saw outside in 2014…spring is close!  (especially after a snow the week before)


#1937  sitting outside reading 1 John 2:24-27 on a February 70* day

#1938  “Focus on the good news”  1 John 2:24

#1939  “Remain connected to God”  1 John 2:27

#1940  hard eucharisteo – lessons to learn

#1941  the unexpected sticker at the fast food drive thru window


#1942  a 70* February weekend

#1943  sitting on a slide all at the same time with 6 women ages ranging from 27-60

#1944  laughter with those women on a play set

#1945  praying with them hand in hand on a playground

#1946  meeting a new young friend

#1947  daffodils about to burst


#1948  Dad and daughter date

#1949  Dad and daughter’s special conversations at dinner

#1950  preteen lock in at church son and daughter went to and the amazing energy and love for Jesus the leaders have to pour out to our kids

#1951  son choosing to help/play with the preteens instead of going to a school dance

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#1952  group of women opening up and sharing from the heart

#1953  sharing what’s stirring with someone I respect

#1954  the times when I’ve shared what I heard, and it brings unexpected holy tears

#1955  Girls night out to celebrate a special birthday with friends

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#1956  family dinner-out night with good conversations after a busy week

#1957  sunny and 70* on March 2

#1958  21 more years of life today


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