Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Radical Christianity in North America

"...Only a life contemplating the love of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ..."

This phrase stuck out to me tonight as I was reading Ann Voskamp's article on radical Christianity.  That's truly it - we can only really love, when we realize how much we have been loved.

So, go on over, and read her article about being love to the people God puts in your everyday life - it's so amazing!

P.S. If you haven't read her book One Thousand Gifts, please, do! It's challenging and inspiring, and a guide to living in joy and gratitude.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This is My Jesus

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God."  Hebrews 12:2

Things have been kind of tough around here.  It's (continued to be) been a battle - for me, for my thought life....  It's hard getting back to normal, once you've been having fun for the past two months with the Holidays 'n such.  I'm a woman, therefore, I am emotional, a battle all of it's own.  Anyways, sounds like Life, huh?!  Well, in all of this, Jesus has been gently teaching me to keep my eyes fixed on Him

I've been taught this lesson before.  However, I'm learning it again!

On January 8, it was just one of those nights. One of those nights where it had been a long day, I was tired, emotional, and all I wanted to do was list all the things that were making me mad, list all the people who've hurt me and my family, judge others' lives, and stay stuck in my self-pity.   I really wanted to.  {I thought that if I could just get it out, it would help me.}  Yet, Jesus gently whispered to my soul, "Bailey, why don't you fix your eyes upon Me?" 
I knew, from past experiences, that looking to Jesus is far more peace-giving, beautiful, and fulfilling, then staying focused on me.  So, by the grace of God, I did just that.  I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus.  I chose not to conform to the patterns of this world, (by dwelling on myself) and instead, renew my mind with the Truth. 
(From my journal) Open my eyes to see you in the pages of Scripture, and to be awed by all that You are.  May I decrease, and You increase in my heart, tonight, Lord!

This is my Jesus!
  • is majestic {Psalm 8} 
  • cares for Me 
  • is God Most High {Psalm 9}
  • judges righteously
  • is enthroned forever 
  • is a stronghold
  • doesn't forsake those who seek Him
  • doesn't forget the cry of the afflicted
  • helps the fatherless {Psalm 10}
  • sees everything that happens 
  • is King forever and ever
  • hears the desire of the afflicted
  • strengthens the afflict-ed's heart and inclines His ear to them
  • is righteous {Psalm 11} 
  • speaks pure words
By this time, my heart was rejoicing in my wonderful Savior!  After reading through four or five chapters of Psalms, my heart was turned off of myself, and focused on the unchanging character of my Jesus.  God answers prayer.  In minutes, the Word of God took my eyes off of me, and His Truth renewed my mind and soul, and then I could drift off to sleep pondering all that He was/is!

Friends, it is so fulfilling and peace-giving to look unto Jesus...

Even this morning, our family has been hit with another wave of "bad circumstances," as the world might see it.  Yet, I am not moved.  I know that my Jesus is "God Most High," that he "Sees everything that happens," that He "Cares for me...." 

I know that "The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  And those who know your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You...He does not forget the cry of the afflicted."  Psalm 9:9-10, 12b

I know that He does see {Psalm 10:14} all the injustices and bad things that happen. Yet, He remains in control and sovereign. 

and I know that, "Lord is King forever and ever....O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear." Psalm 10:14, 16-17

He is my Father. He will take care of me. He is not far off or distant. He is near.  He is in control.

And whatever the enemy throws at us, or whatever God places in our life, I can look at Jesus and say,
"The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their roaring.  Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the see, the Lord on high is mighty!"  Psalm 93:3-4

I can fix my eyes upon my Jesus, who is mighty, even though the winds and the waves blow around me! Peter, as he looked to Jesus, walked upon the water.  So, I too, through the strength of my Savior, as I look to Him, can walk on top of the water around me!

So, whatever you're going through, I encourage and challenge you, to steal away for some time, and look to Jesus.  Pour out your heart to Him; tell Him you're struggling with seeing who He really is; read aloud the living Word of God to catch a glimpse of His unchanging Person; keep seeking Him. 

He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love...and He rewards those who diligently seek Him!  {Psalm 103:8, and Hebrews 11:6}

Praying the He would give you the strength to "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." And that you would be filled with peace and joy as you fix your gaze from the howling winds that blow, to our precious Savior who walks on top of the water!