Even Now I Know

Reading in John 11, I am struck by the complete trust of Martha and the quickness of Mary’s response to seek Jesus even in their grief. These women have remarkable faith. Take a moment to ponder the verses here and the interaction between the sisters Martha and Mary, and Jesus. Imagine being in their sandals. How would you respond to Jesus? 

Now when Jesus came he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. John 11:13 

Only four days had passed since Lazarus death. No doubt, sleeplessness, grief and inner turmoil towards Jesus’ absence overwhelmed the broken hearts of these sisters. Remember by this point in Jesus’ ministry, these women had witnessed several miraculous events by Him. Yet, where was Jesus when they desperately needed Him? 

So, when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” John 11:20-22

Martha heard Jesus was near and she could not wait for His arrival. She is so confident in her Lord, that even in her overwhelming grief she trusts Him completely. I love her response, “But even now I know”. There is no bitterness or anger towards Jesus though He was not present to heal her brother. Even in her brothers death she is convinced that Jesus is good. That Jesus is God. 

She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God who is coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private “The teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. John 11:28-29

As soon as Mary heard that Jesus was calling for her, she quickly rose to meet Him. She does not hesitate. She does not refuse to budge in bitterness over His absence. She immediately responds to His call to her. 

I can not help but admire these two women. I learn so much from them. Though they are filled with grief at the loss of their beloved brother Lazarus, still all of their faith is in Christ Jesus.

Faith in God does not disappoint! Ever! And these two sisters are about to experience that personally as they watch, with their very own eyes, their brother Lazarus walk out of his grave! 

Altering My Calendar

This morning I pulled out my camping chair and placed myself right in front of my newly built chicken run. For some this may seem strange, but today I am basking in the warmth of the sun on my skin and a heart full and thankful for so many blessings. I am thankful for this moment of pause.

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2)

There is always so much to be thankful for. Today, I am thankful to recognize it. Unfortunately, my personality is prone to a checklist type mentality or an over-committed schedule, with not enough pause. There is always something to be done! Can you relate?

It is amazing what becomes of a pause isn’t it? Unexpectedly, you become aware of detail that busyness can so easily whiz by and miss. When we intentionally slow down for the Lord, His love for us becomes incredibly more illuminated and then exultation fills one’s heart to the brim.

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)

I pray that us ladies would remember to schedule intentional stillness into our calendars, to find the true rest and hope that only comes from Jesus.

Conviction and Condemnation

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The Christian walk is not always an easy one. If I had to count how many times I've lost focus, turned away, or have gotten lazy, I could come up with quite a large number. Can anyone relate? Just yesterday my husband and I were talking about this very thing and how strong our sin natures really are!

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I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:15,18-19, 21-25

But as we were talking about our frustrations and disappointments in ourselves, something occurred to me. Satan condemns. God convicts. It's so tempting to think things like, "What is wrong with me?" "Why can't I do what I'm suppose to do" "I'm a terrible christian, wife, mother, friend, etc", but these thoughts are not of God. You see how sneaky our adversary can be?! Without even realizing it, we fall prey to his traps. We are an easy catch. All it takes is a whisper.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

It made me start thinking about what a gift conviction is. When God is convicting me, He's calling me back. His conviction is literally His love being poured out on me. We are not condemned because we're not defined by our faults. We're defined by our God. And His conviction is God putting our hearts back in line with His.

God will always show us a way out. He loves us and is patient, merciful, and kind. Jesus can make all things new…ALL things…even hot messes like myself! I look back on who and where I was even just 10 years ago and I stand amazed at what God has done. His fingerprints are all over my life and He has truly given me a new heart.

I still struggle with sin. We all will until these leaky vessels get their final makeover but until then, when I feel His holy conviction setting in, I choose to smile KNOWING that I am feeling God drawing me near. What a blessing to be loved and drawn by Him.

He who was seated on the throne said, -I am making everything new!- Revelations 21-5a

Blessing those who persecute us

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Last week I had a few incidents where I felt that people were very rude! I was waiting at a red light and because people assumed I was going right, aggressive people honked their horns at me until I moved. A waitress was extremely passive aggressive when my friend and I asked if we could split the bill saying, “well, if you had said that to me at the beginning.” It was the way she said it, I was very offended.

Then on another occasion, I was standing in the way of a lady, unintentionally. She declared, “I need to get there, get out of my way. I wait for no one!” This lady was quite an extrovert, I think she was trying to be dramatic. She seemed serious though, I couldn’t quite believe it.

I tried not to let these things get to me, my husband said that they’re all external, it should not affect you, but it did! I couldn’t believe how many encounters of rude people I was having in a week. But in everything our Heavenly Father teaches us something.

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We are called to bless those who persecute us. When I thought of that, it made me realize that instead of wanting to be rude back to these people or give them a good answer back, I should want to show them love, the love of Christ.

This is out of our thinking! The World says we need to pay back our wrongs. Our Heavenly Father says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” (Romans 12:19).

Then something hit me hard, our Lord Jesus, when hanging on the cross said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus was persecuted in the worst way possible and he still had compassion on the people who crucified Him. Jesus still showed love.

This puts me to shame, if the Lord Jesus forgives those who persecuted Him, I can forgive these petty grievances I have encountered. Our Lord is so forgiving of me, I need to be quick to forgive too.

Let’s think of how we can bless those who persecute us the next time we feel under attack. Very often the issue isn’t what it seems. Very often they do not intend to persecute us. Let’s show the love of Christ to all, even those who the World finds hard to love.

Dear Philippians

I just love how when reading God’s Word, we can place ourselves in the shoes of those who lived during Bible times, and relate their stories to our situations today. 

There have been times in my life when I could relate to the story of God parting the Red Sea, and times when I could relate to the story of Jehoshaphat as I had to stand still and watch God rescue me from trials. When I moved from Maine to Utah, I thought about Abram and Sarai leaving their homeland and going to a land they didn’t know.

This week I read about Paul writing to the Philippians. He remembers those brothers and sisters in Christ who were dear to his heart and he encourages them in their walk with Jesus.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all…” (Philippians 1:3-4).

Snail mail is a wonderful thing. Being 2,600 miles away from my family and friends, when I receive letters from back home, I treasure reading them. Each letter comes with a personal voice, unique to the writer. I can hear Alivia in her encouragement mixed with silly humor, my Nana in her perfect cursive writing, Chaity in her poetic stories of love, and Jenn in her wisdom and hugs. It fills my heart to hear how God is moving in everyone’s specific lives as I read.

For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me” (Philippians 1:7).

Like Paul remembering his brothers and sisters in Christ, I remember those back home whom I love dearly. The connections we have because of Christ living in us are so special. Letters from home, bring me a gift of joyful remembrance of my loved ones, because at times it is hard to be away.

I can relate to Paul’s deep love for his brothers and sisters in Christ. And I am comforted to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ here in Utah too, and all over the world.

Because everywhere God places us, there will always be His children and because of that, Light, Love and Comfort.

Living Water

This morning as I was sharing our double sink bathroom with my husband, I was struck by the ease of which we enjoy fresh water. Water is plentiful for us, for laundry, cooking, and showers. We even have a brook that meanders through our property. How often I have turned on the faucets with never a thought in mind.

This morning my thoughts went to the millions around the world who have no water available to them. Water is such a basic necessity for life. Many struggle each day to find enough to stay alive, yet I most often take it for granted. I foolishly forget that water means life! 

In John, Jesus is having a conversation with a woman He had never met before.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. ” (John 4:10)

The woman answered him, sir you have nothing to draw water with and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? (John 4:11)

With the woman’s response it is obvious she has no idea what Jesus is talking about. She thinks He is talking about physical water that sustains life, yet He is speaking of Himself, the spiritual water, the Gift of God, who is eternal life. 

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but who ever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Just like water that sustains our physical life, Jesus is the spiritual water that gives and sustains our eternal life. Only a relationship with Him will give us constant fulfillment, a steady replenishment that quenches our thirst, and ultimately an eternity in Heaven. 

Not A Chance

Over this summer, my husband and I decided to raise chickens for our family. What we did not think about when purchasing the chickens, was how God would display Himself to us even through chicken raising!

Did you know that when a chicken lays an egg, an outer covering called a “bloom” protects the egg from harmful bacteria?

This is amazing to me. A simple fact about a chicken, a little tiny piece of creation, displays and points us to the power of God. Only The Divine Creator can weave such intricate detail into all of His creation for the well being of all, with His glory in mind. “Chance” does not stand a chance.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

When we look around our world, there is no excuse to not see God. His power is on display everywhere, in all things, even a chicken egg.