Friday, December 30, 2011

Duped at Disney?

Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst again-never...." John 4:13-14 MSG

I have spent the last two days surrounded by the "magic" of Disney. I have been part of the crowds wondering in and out of stores, strolling past Disney characters, Christmas decorations, wide-eyed adults dragging their tired, weary children, and people from all nations and tongues. I have stood in lines to ride exhibits that promise to capture your heart and imagination, while leaving you "thirsting" for more adventure into the next unknown "Disney Wilderness" . I have been mesmerized by the variety of Mickey hats, Disney gear, and character memorabilia donned by both adults and children. Yes, Disney promotes and promises "magic", and they deliver. What is unknown is whether or not Disney's "magic" satisfies the parched and weary soul. Can their magic go back home with these sagging pilgrims and sooth the pain of divorce, the loss of a beloved friend or family member, the sickness of a  child, unpaid bills, the emptiness of a lonely heart, or the  hopelessness and  despair of depression. Will Disney quench the thirst of needing to feel adequate and fulfilled in daily living? Can the "magic" of Disney endure through future sickness, possible unemployment, car repairs, school bills, broken relationships, or perhaps a diagnosis that threatens our existence? Have we been duped to believe Disney can deliver peace and contentment? I believe we have. Peace is not found in drinking in Disney or any other false "magic", but drinking in the life of Christ. Strolling through His promises daily and drinking from His well of truth. Christ, the hope of all our unknowns. Christ, the Son of God who promises to deliver us to an eternal home in heaven where death, nor pain, or tears exist. Heaven, where God himself will reside and make all things new (Revelation 21:1-6 emphasis mine). Christ promises we will never be "thirsty" again. Disney does not make this guarantee. This is why many make the pilgrimage back hoping to recapture this "magic" for one more small moment in time. Am I ungrateful for being given the chance to experience this gilded magic? No, because having experienced it I am more convinced that I have been duped. Today, seek after the well that can deliver rest for your tired soul. Seek Christ. Seek His Kingdom of Hope. He not only delivers, but His promises endure throughout all eternity. Now that is "magic"  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blind Trust

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Flying into Orlando yesterday, our plane was flying through thick, cumulus clouds. Visibility was zero from my back window perspective. We were preparing to land when I looked over to my dear friend and asked, "I wonder how the pilot is able to see through these clouds to land the plane?". My sweet friend immediately answered, "They rely on their navigational gauges." At first I wondered why I had not thought of this simple answer, but then I realized I am not one to trust so easily. I typically rely on my own ability to solve a problem, to bring closure to a dispute, and to make sense of illogical events. I sat pondering the trust of a pilot. He or she must believe the information their gauges relay to them, even if the evidence appears to contradict. They must "blindly trust" as they navigate through thick clouds, storms, and through the dark of night. They cannot second guess their information panel, because their lives, and the lives of their passengers are depending on their ability to "blindly trust". I sat reviewing how many times I have not trusted the navigational gauge (God's Word) I have been given to safely guide me through the blind spots in my own life. If a "gentle answer turns away wrath", then why do I often feel like my own pressured response is better able to ward off others anger. If God conveys that "love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8), then why do I need to implore diplomatic, politically correct maneuvers to accomplish peace among humanity. Do I not trust God's word to safely navigate me through life's fog? Do you? Today's challenge, trust God. Take Him at His Word. He promises He will direct our paths if we do. We have His assurance that He "will never leave [us] or forsake [us]" (Hebrews 13:5). He is a good God, and we know that in Him "goodness and love will follow [us] all the days of [our] life (Psalm 23:6). Today, Lord, I will place my trust in you, even if I cannot see what lies ahead.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Living by the True Light

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ (Col. 2:8).

As we entered the sanctuary of our church last night to celebrate the birth of Christ, we were invited to pick up a candle that would be used toward the end of the service. I quickly surveyed my options-candles previously lit, short candles, long, unlit candles, and candles with drippings of dried wax attached down their sides. Then I saw my prize. A glow stick. How much fun. At the right time I would break the contents, and then with no risk involved, shine my light. To my surprise, the rest of my family opted for the real thing- a candle. As we enjoyed the beauty of scripture reading and music, I highly anticipated breaking my glow stick. My family, I was sure, would regret not holding a glow stick. When the time came, a candle was lit and passed around for those with candles to light their candle off of. Yep, I broke my glow stick. I would not have to depend on my neighbor, nor would I have to risk "operation candle clean up". But, something happened that I did not expect. I began to question whether or not my glow stick could really be considered a true source of light. Had I been beguiled by the sleek, easy appeal of the glow stick. I was not able to share my source of light like my family had experienced. One candle lighting another. I sat alone with no one to share my light with. I began to regret my choice and realized how easy it is to be deceived by the appearance and false promise of "truth". I was here celebrating Truth-the birth of Jesus Christ. Christ, the only true light of the world. The promise of a king who gives eternal life. A God who is able to transform one life, and through transformation change another life. One life sharing with another. I had missed my opportunity to share. I allowed the ease and safety of my "false light" to take me captive. What gilded truths are you allowing to eclipse the truths of Christ? Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6      

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Living with Vision

Jesus said, "What do you want me to do for you?"....And the blind man said..., "I want to regain my sight!" And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him.... Mark 10: 51-52

I have been blessed to see my entire life. I know the hues of blue, the calm of green, and the vibrant reds and pinks that color the world with fun and laughter. But, I have also known what it is like to lose my vision. I know what it is like to awaken in body, but to not see with the eyes of my soul. To be blinded by over-commitment and burdens, and too much self-imposed responsibility. To be shadowed by the opinions and expectations of others. I have felt the pain of living in the darkness of my soul, and what it is like to blindly stumble for purpose. But, each day, I arise with a Savior, Christ, who lovingly asks, "What do you want me to do for you?" Each day, I, by faith, can ask God to restore my vision. For Christ to wipe away the darkness and soil from the previous day. I, like the blind man, can cry out, "I want to regain my sight!" Vision opens my soul to purpose; to see with the eyes of the soul. Vision allows me to see the road marked out for me to walk down today. It is God who restores our sight and gives us vision. What is keeping you from "seeing" today? What blankets your soul and shadows your vision? Today, ask for God to restore your "vision", and, like the blind man who was healed, follow Him. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Living For Not Against

No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor. 2:9
Today, December 19, 2012, I sit with absolutely no Christmas tree erected, no decorative lights donning my windows, nor is there any hint that Christmas is being celebrated in our home this year. I have fretted a little over the absence of external evidences of my joy, but I have dismissed these fleeting moments in order to move forward in my other responsibilities. You see, celebrating Christ is about giving people something to live for and not against. I am not called to live against a set of rules that dictate if and when I hang festive decorations, nor am I designed to follow the holiday traditions set forth by man. Rather, I am living for a hope that cannot be seen by the human eye nor ear, but can be received by the hearts of mankind. I am designed to remind people of the hope they have been given through the birth of the child Christ, and trimming a tree and playing festive music does not necessarily convey this hope. What I know is that the elderly gentleman I have assisted the past four days, the assistance my two daughters gave to my mother yesterday, and the couple my husband ministered to is the best ornaments of hope our family could hang. It is not my intention to brag, but to remind myself that this year our family will decorate hearts in place of home. I really do not think this is a bad trade off this year. What are you living for today? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Living While Dying

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, (and) self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23 NISB

I often think of what it will be like to die. It is my belief that most people do. I wonder what it will be like to grow older and encounter the balk and disdain of those living in their season of youthfulness, although I am beginning to chew on bite size pieces of this reality.  I hear many verbalize their desire to be with God and prayerfully ask Him to take them "home". But I question whether or not this is good time spent. Is my time spent contemplating death and aging a good investment of the gifts I have been given? Does a steward of life have the right to ask God to remove them from this earth? Yes, facing my own mortality and aging helps set my priorities in line. But, giving too much thought to these matters is a poor investment of my life. Actually, I am spending my life with no return. So what is a good way to invest my life and reap the dividends of good life? Accept death and aging and move on. Anti-aging creams may slow the outward signs of fleshly decay, but it cannot stop my internal aging clock. As one of my students stated last night, "Eat more fruit". Yes, living well means I must eat more fruit. I must love more. I must exude more joy. I must live at peace with myself and mankind. I must show patience, even when I am cut off in traffic. I must reach out and in kindness share with those in need. I must show goodness and faithfulness to my children, my spouse, my family, and to all those in my realm of influence. And with self-control, offer gentleness when I have been wronged. You see, I am dying and so are you. But, I have the choice to live in the presence of dying. Vanesha, thanks for this reminder. Today, I challenge you to pick up life and eat more fruit.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yoked and Choked

Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:29-30 NIV

As I am sitting choking on the amount of obligations I have committed to, I fight back anger as I watch the rest of my family enjoy the beauty of this cold, brisk "pre-winter" day. Why am I so angry? Why am I not able to find breathing space for my soul? I feel tethered to a post that belongs to someone else.  And then I have to step back and ask myself, "Is this the Yolk of my God or the yolk of desire for a self-enhanced image?". Am I seeking the praise of God or the applause of man? When I say yes, why do I say yes? So many things zooming past my mind to evaluate. God says His yolk is easy and His burden light. He even declares that my soul will find rest when yolked to Him. He would never ask me to be weigh down by responsibility that does not fit into His plan for my life. His plans are for my good (Jeremiah 29:11). Today's challenge, to exchange my life plans for His. To say yes to God and not man. To put down responsibilities that bow me down. When tethered to God, I will be tethered to a "good shepherd" and "I shall not want" (Psalm 23). I will swallow life and not be choked by it. My soul will be refreshed, and my joy will exhale. What do you need to lay down? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trash Talking

Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29 NISB

Each week I methodically gather all my trash and ritually prepare for the trash collector to arrive. Silly? Perhaps. Necessary? Absolutely. The beauty of this day is that not only does he remove the trash I have created during the week, but he removes the trash that others have brought into my home. You see, trash is burdensome. It is sticky and riddled with microscopic and potential disease producing organisms, and I insist it leaves my home. However, there is another type of trash whose presence is more subtle and not so easily detected. My trash collector is not even aware of it, nor does he have the ability to dispose of its lethal by-products. This trash I am talking about are the little toxic attitudes and words that creep out of my mouth, the self berating thoughts and comments I fire at myself, the false guilt and shame I allow others to hurl at me, and the sins of my children I so readily accept as my own. Trash I have created and trash others have brought to me. Trash. Filthy, soul killing trash. But, just like my hired trash collector, I have a Savior that daily arrives. He anticipates my need to daily rid myself of my soul's refuge, and willingly reaches to take this off my heart's doorstep. He reminds me that I was not created for this, but to live life abundantly (John 10:10). Today's challenge, lay the trash of your soul at His doorstep. He loves trash, for that is what He came to this earth to do. Christ, God's trash collector of the world.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


He has...set eternity in their heart....
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NISB
Touring a historic home, I was struck by how much time, effort, and expense was poured into the furnishings and   decorated walls of this elaborate abode. What was missing, though, were the original owners and investors of this mansion. As I reflected on all the labor and expensive artifacts they left behind, I mused whether or not their elite lifestyle dampened the pain of having lost their only child in infancy. Could all the trappings and "toys" of this world ease the pain of their loss? Were they drawing their strength from the right source? After all, one unexpected fire could wipe out their entire life's investment.  As I continued to listen to our gracious tour guide, I looked around and saw what was really important-people. People were designed for eternity with God-not homes or their furnishings, but people. And in eternity, the weary will be refreshed and the faint will be satisfied (Jeremiah 31:25 NIV). Further, eternity holds no death or separation, no pain or mourning, and those who are in Christ will be in the presence of God forever (Revelation 21:4). Today, live for that which fire cannot destroy-eternity with God. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Flawed Purpose

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good...
Genesis 1:31 NISB
Viewing my gnarled apples hanging from my apple tree one silent fall day, I was intrigued at the variety of shapes, sizes, and imperfections each apple held. Later, as I steadily cut into each flawed apple, I kept the vision of their greater purpose before me. Purpose donned in imperfection. I was moved by the revelation that God views me, His flawed creation,  through the same lens. He knows my flaws. He sees my imperfections, yet He declares that what He has made is "very good". My imperfections pregnant with purpose. Today, the challenge is to enlarge my understanding and vision of  what it means to live with "Flawed Purpose". To know that if the creator of the universe declares His creation as "very good", then I can yield to the cutting of my soul as he prepares me to live mindful and intentional donned in imperfection.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:28 NISB

Are there days when the responsibilities and tasks of everyday life eat away at your energy and drain the vigor from your soul? Today, we can trust that our God can and will restore our sagging bodies and soggy souls. We can have hope that He will "raise up those who are bowed low" (Psalm 146:8). We must, however, be mindful and intentional to daily feed our souls with Spoonfuls of Hope. Romans 5:5 states that "hope does not disappoint". Today's hope comes from the promise that when we go to Him, we will find rest. Today, fall into His arms of rest and find the restoration and hope your sagging soul cries out for.
-Lynne Jordan