Monday, 28 July 2014

When it’s hard to believe that hope is coming

Scripture verse John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5 (NLT)

I opened my eyes in the dark. I pressed the alarm clock and saw 5:00am shine back at me. I nudged my husband and whispered it’s time to go. 

We dressed quickly and slipped into the car. We headed North West into the blackness around us. 

An hour passed and still no sunlight penetrated the horizon. I looked around me and I thought about how when everything is dark it seems like it will stay that way forever. 

At that moment, in the dark, it felt hard to imagine that we would ever be driving in the light. 

I thought about the long dark days when Xylon had chemo every other week. How those days felt like they would never end.

At about 6:15 I saw a slither of light squirm across the horizon, minutes later darkness no longer hovered around us. 

Light always overcomes the darkLight pierced the darkness and everything changed. 

My mind recalled the all the moments during chemo when light would pierce the darkness. The times when God would remind me that he held me

I thought about how maybe God made day and night to remind me that there is a rhythm to life, that there is darkness and light. 

And light always overcomes the dark. 

Even at night, the stars remind me that darkness cannot prevent hope from shining. (tweet this)

Ponder: What do you think it will take for light to shine in your darkness? 

Prayer: Lord, I believe that you can shine in the dark areas of my life. Come bring light where I need it most. 

{Other places I've been writing lately}

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

If you’re wondering when God will blow the whistle on your sin

[A note from Wendy: Today I'm lending this space to Kristen Wetherell. A newlywed who loves to write about how each of us can find out who we are through spending time with Jesus.]
The lord is not a refereeFor Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. Hebrews 4:15-16 (VOICE)

The Lord is not a referee.


When my pastor spoke these words from the pulpit the other weekend, they hit me like a ton of bricks. He had just started preaching a series on the love of Christ and was in the process of describing a few different ways that people view God. 

My pastor’s statement resonated too deeply for comfort. 

In other words, I found myself identifying with it, realizing that I sometimes believe that the Lord is indeed a referee, waiting to call the whistle on me at any point of failure and sin.

I shudder at the thought of this because it simply is not true. My pastor was absolutely correct: the Lord is not a referee. 

So I ask myself, what is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is really like? 

The writer of the Hebrews says: “For we do not have a great high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). 

Christ deeply loves me, deeply sympathizes with my every weakness, grieves for my every struggle and intercedes on my behalf. 

Jesus knows all my hardship and temptation because he walked in the flesh.

Let us step boldly to the throne of grace hebrews 4:15-16Jesus is not waiting to blow the whistle on me when I sin, mercilessly calling “game over!” (tweet this)

Rather, Christ says, “Humble yourself, see your need for my perfect covering over your sins, and come to me with your burdens. 
I will give you rest, for that is who I am. 
I will enable you to draw near to me in confident assurance that I am for you, and not against you.” 

The gospel tells me this: At one time I was separated from Christ, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus I, who once was far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. What comforting, convicting and freeing news! The gospel banishes any and every inkling of a wrong thought about a rigid, finger-pointing God. 

Will he convict me of sin through his Word and the Holy Spirit? Absolutely. That is his grace at work. But will he condemn those who have put their faith in his Son? Absolutely not!

Let us draw near to the throne of grace with confidence today.

Ponder: How does the gospel and the great strength of the love of Christ for you speak to your desperate need for mercy and grace?

Pray: Lord, thank you for your unending, compassionate and challenging grace that molds me, so I simply cannot stay in my sin. Thank you for loving me perfectly and tenderly, even when I do sin. Help me to walk in the truth of your grace today and to see you clearly. Amen.

More about the author of this guest devotional
Kristen Wetherell (Founder/Contributor) is a content manager, writer and singer/songwriter. She founded The Identity Project in February 2012 with the desire to see women transformed by the gospel. The blog keeps a column at WHOLE Magazine and also lives at iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com. Follow her on Twitter

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Monday, 21 July 2014

When you’re fighting (for) each other

Song of Solomon 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love
 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned. Song of Solomon 8:7 (NLT)

It wasn’t love at first sight.

By the time I met Xylon I had plans about who I was going to marry. He was going to be tall, dark and handsome. And Xylon is only two of those things: handsome and dark.

When I met Xylon I didn’t know if I could spend the rest of my life looking down to a man. But Xylon didn’t care. He took a risk. He fought for me. He romanced me (still does). Poured out his heart over an untouched meal and asked me to consider spending until death with him. 

And I found height doesn’t matter as much as heart. 

Then Xylon asked my father if it would be okay for him to marry me. My parents weren’t sure it was a good thing for people with different skin colours to marry

And for the first time in our relationship we had to decide if our love was worth fighting for.

We prayed and we fought. We stood up for a world in which the caramel coloured children (we may) some day have can be embraced by both sets of grandparents. 

Together we fought for love, and with love, and because of love.

Three years later we stood beneath a well-rooted tree, and repeated our vows after my father, and we thought (and prayed) that our fight for love would be over. We looked at each other with the eyes of newly-weds and believed our biggest battles were behind us. 

Eight months into matrimony and we sat before a doctor as he ran through dread diseases my husband might have. A week later the tests showed - without a doubt - he had cancer. 

We had another battle to fight, another moment to decide if our love was worth fighting for. 

We’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years between hospitals and doctors and scans. We’ve experienced the joy of completing chemo and the despair of being told the cancer is back. I’ve brushed handfuls of my husbands’ hair off our bedding, held him in the middle of the night when he’s shaking from a fever and left the room when he’s received a bone marrow biopsy.
Quotes about love
But we have never stopped fighting. 

We are still fighting.

And that’s okay because I believe that if something is worth having it is worth fighting for. 

And love is worth having. 

And love is worth fighting for.

When I feel like giving up, backing down and walking away I think of Jesus. I think of how Jesus fights endlessly and tirelessly for us. How he never stops, even when it means going to hell-and-back – he does it. 

Jesus fights for me – for life, for love – even when I don’t acknowledge him or want him too. 

Even when I fight him, Jesus fights for me. (tweet this)

And that makes me want to love like that, to fight for a love like that, to give my life for a love like that.

There is sacredness in fighting for another, battling side-by-side with someone for something that matters.

Sometimes when I’m putting pressure on my wounds, cleaning our cuts and reeling from pain, I forget that I am fighting, battling for something that matters.

I forget that we are not fighting each other but fighting together. 

I forget that love is not only hard but also holy. (tweet this)

Ponder: Do you believe that love always perseveres?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for always loving me. 

This post originally appeared on Spiritual Glasses in May 2013. 


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