Thursday, 23 October 2014

Jesus is still reckless with hope

Matthew 28:16-21 devotional
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (MSG)

Sometimes I’m not sure what God is doing. 

Some things in life just don’t seem to make sense. 

I think the disciples must have felt that way when they Jesus came to have a reunion with them for after he rose from the dead. 

I think that I would have been amongst the disciples holding back, not risking themselves totally. 

Which is why I love that the very next verse says, “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead…”

Jesus is reckless with hopeI love that Jesus doesn’t wait for me to be in exactly the right place in my life before he shares my purpose with me. 

When I hold myself back, out of uncertainty, Jesus is still reckless with hope. (tweet this)

When I'm unsure Jesus still moves toward me.

Jesus doesn’t wait for me to sort my life, my heart or my future, before he calls me to live for him. (tweet this)

So often, I think Jesus will only use me when I have all my ducks in a row, but as I read these verses this morning, I was realised that there is one thing that will never stop Jesus: Me. 

Jesus isn’t phased by my lack of faith, my belief in my ability, or whether I think I’m good enough. (tweet this)

Jesus won’t let whatever holds me backing from risking everything fully for him, stop him from inviting me to know life, life and more life

Instead Jesus just stands there saying, “Go, live the life you’ve heard me speak about, and I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Ponder: What holds you back from living the life Jesus is calling you too? Do you think knowing Jesus isn’t deterred by those things would help you move towards it.

Pray: Jesus, help me to be undeterred like you by the things I think hold me back. 

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Gratisography.com and unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck


Monday, 20 October 2014

When Love takes you places you never expected

Love quote
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (VOICE)

Sun fell in shafts on the square as Xylon and I propped our feet on our backpacks. Opposite in a row of old women sat smoothing knee-length skirts over their knees and speaking rapidly in Spanish.

Xylon pointed, and I turned to see an auburn haired woman clutching the hand of a blonde toddler heading towards us. We had never met Susannah but we guessed this must be her. Pulling our bags behind her we walked over to introduce ourselves.

Susannah took us back to her apartment and started showing us around the space we would be living for a week. Her English was close to perfect so I asked her to share her story.

Susannah told us of a childhood in New York, of growing up Spanish in the US and how she returned to Spain as an adult and fell in love with a man from a small Spanish town. She laughed softly as she said, 
"Love takes you places you never expected to go." (tweet this)

Her words stuck in my head.

I thought about how Jesus is God and God is Love. 

And how sometimes having a relationship with God means going places I never expected and loving people I thought I never could. 

I thought about all the places Love goes that I never expected: 
How Love forgets every wrong. 
How Love opens his arms and pulls me towards him no matter how dark my thoughts, heart or actions.
How Love never fails. 

I thought about our marriage: how I never expected love to take us through days of radiation, months in hospital and years of chemo. 

I thought about Jesus and how his love for me took him to some hard places. I wondered if he ever expected his love for me to take him to Calvary, to a cross, to a grave, to coming back from the dead. 

I wondered if Jesus knew Love would have him offering life to prostitutes, thieves, murderers. (tweet this)

Did Jesus expect that a woman would wash his feet with her hair and a bottle of the world’s most expensive shampoo out of love?

I thought about the people I know who have left family, country, jobs, just because Love calls them to live a different story. 

And I thought about how, as I let God show me how to love, he leads to me people, places and ideas I would never have expected. 

And I found a prayer stumbling from my lips, “Love, take me places I never expected to go.”

Ponder: What places, moments or people has God brought into your life out of love that you never expected? 

Pray: Love, take me places I never expected to go.

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In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Thursday, 16 October 2014

If you’re wondering if Jesus likes all of you (or how depression showed me he does)

Bible verse from Isaiah never alone
But I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute. Isaiah 42:16 (MSG)

I was 21, and standing in the dog food aisle, when I realised that I did not want to kill myself anymore. 

I remember the moment clearly; I can even picture the bag of dog food I was examining when I realised that I did not want to die, that I wanted to take another shot at life. 

For the first time in almost a year, I wanted to breathe, to live, and to stop wishing cars would run me over when I walked to University. 

When I was growing up – blowing bubbles, climbing jungle gyms and jumping on trampolines – I never imagined at 21 I would be unravelling like the hem of my trouser leg and needing to crawl home for some love and repair and hope. 

I had walked away from the life I had dreamt of living and I did not know what to do next, or who I was, or what life meant. 

Unsure of who I was, and with depression lingering, I knew only one thing: Jesus was with me and he liked me. {tweet this}

Even today there are times when I know nothing else but this one thing. I do not understand it. And I wrestle and grapple and argue about it constantly with myself, with others, and with Jesus. 

Jesus liked all of me. He liked the dark places I wished to flee, and the shadows where I dwelt, and the light that reminded me of who I used to be. Jesus stayed with me, not out of pity, but out of love.

I do not know how Jesus happened to be there, and I do not know how he found me, all I know is that he was there. 

When I was stumbling through my life, when I was wandering in darkness, Jesus was with me, and he liked me, every bit as much as the little girl who laughed on the swing.

To be honest, sometimes it felt like I was alone, like I was walking with my hands out along a foggy road but then the mist would clear and I’d catch a glimpse of the One who walked with me.  

I’d hold that picture in my mind and head towards it reminding myself of the promise in Isaiah 42:16: 
I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.
Sometimes my life still makes no sense to me, often I feel myself battling the darkness, squinting for a glimpse of the One I know will take my hand before I fall, the One I know will stick with me through the darkest days

Ponder: Do you think that Jesus likes you on best days? What about on the worst ones?

Prayer: Lord, take my hand when I can’t see where I’m going. 

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{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck