I am so thankful for new mornings. The other night ended with both my girls bawling their eyes out because I took their stuffies away. I took their stuffies away because they wouldn’t listen and clean up in the playroom. I yelled more than I would like to admit. It was not my finest parenting moment.
I always feel awful after a night like that. I don’t like them going to bed in tears. I don’t like fighting with them or yelling at them. It leaves us all feeling miserable.
This must be how God feels as He watches us disobey and try to do things our own way. I’m sure it pains Him to see us behave like that. Some days when we go to bed He must be exhausted at our unfaithfulness.
But, His loving kindness, His mercies, His compassion are new every morning. Every day is a fresh start with Christ! And every day can be a fresh start with us as parents. The slate has been wiped clean, let’s start over again. There is new mercy each morning! Praise the Lord.
This passage used to freak me out. It gives me so much comfort now, but when I was wrestling with God still, it gave me no comfort at all. Where was I supposed to go to get away from God? If God could always find me, how was I supposed to hide the ugly parts of my life? These are the thoughts that would run through my head as I used to read this passage. But, no more! Praise the Lord! Here are 3 reflections from Psalm 139 that God has given me.
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He’s a Loving Father
When God seeks me and finds me, He does so as a loving Father, not as a Judge. You know how little kids hide under a blanket and think no one can see them? My girls still do this all the time. As soon as Daddy is home, they want to hide so they sit on the couch with a blanket over their heads! Of course, as adults, we play along and pretend we can’t see them and search everywhere for them.
Well, when God sees us, even if we are trying to hide our heads or our ugly parts of life, God doesn’t see the blanket, He sees me covered in Jesus’ blood. He sees me as loved and forgiven. God meets us where we are, we don’t have to be “cleaned up” before He’ll have a relationship with us. He wants us right now, as we are. He doesn’t see our sin, He sees His Son.
Enclosed me Behind and Before
Isn’t this such a comfort? He encloses us in behind and before. In other words, He goes before us and He takes care of everything that is behind us! Praise the Lord!! Reading this passage I immediately thought of the Israelites in the desert after they left Egypt. The Lord was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night leading them to the promised land. When they went to cross the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot on their tail, He moved behind them in the pillar of cloud to confuse and block the Egyptians from catching them.
How great that He promises to do the same for us. He promises to be with us no matter what. He will go before us to prepare the way, and He will go behind us to block the attacks of our enemies!
“The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they mighttravel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
“The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.”
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Being a mother of a preemie, this part of Psalm 139 is especially near and dear to me. You can read all about Lily’s birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle. One of the miracles of having a preemie is you get to watch part of the growth process that would normally happen in the womb in the outside world. My sister in law and I were originally due 1 day apart, so when Lily came 11 weeks early, we would look at her and think this is exactly what her cousin was doing inside the womb.
Lily was born needing assistance breathing, we got to see her grow out of that and breath on her own. She was not able to breast feed right away as preemies use more calories trying to eat than they can take in. It just tires them out too much. It was so amazing when she got to the point of actually being able to nurse! She also had a hole in her heart that we got to see close up. We wouldn’t have seen any of this in the womb.
Our bodies are amazingly made. The way everything works together is unbelievable. I just remember watching Lily and wondering how anyone can look at a living, breathing baby, especially a preemie, and not believe God made them and knit them together in their mother’s womb!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my 3 reflections from Psalm 139. I’d love to hear some of your reflections on this passage! Drop a comment below or email me at email@example.com
If you’re a momma, especially of young girls like I am, you’ve likely heard of the Disney movie Frozen. Who can forget the amazing Idina Menzel belting out “Let it Go!” I dare you not to get that song stuck in your head!! The whole movie is about fear and love and what affect that has on a person (ok, it’s really about a princess who falls in love with the ice harvester after the snowman plays matchmaker, but I’m talking on a deeper level.) The movie can be used to show why perfect love drives out fear. Maybe I watch too many movies with my kids because I wrote another post Getting Through the Scary parts of Life off of one of the Barbie movies!!
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Perfect Love Drives out Fear
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18
The Bible says that perfect love drives out fear. The opposite of fear is not safety, or comfort, or not being scared. The opposite of fear is love. Fear paralyzes, love frees! There is absolutely no fear in love, if there was, it wouldn’t be perfect love.
What does Frozen have to do with it?
If you’ve seen the movie, and you probably have, you know Grand Pabbie is the wise old troll that Anna sees after being struck by Elsa’s powers, twice. The first time, when they are both girls and their parents are still alive, Grand Pabbie tells the King and Queen that fear will be Elsa’s enemy. We can see this throughout the movie as she fears people knowing her powers. When they do find out about her powers, she runs off fearing they’ll think she’s a monster.
The second time Anna sees Grand Pabbie, Elsa has struck her in the heart with her icy power. Grand Pabbie tells her that “only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” I won’t give away the ending, but lets just say that Anna sacrifices herself to shows her true love for her sister in the end. That’s when Elsa finally realizes how to end the eternal winter her fear has brought on, it’s with love.
See where I’m going here? Love, perfect love drives out fear every time.
Love is an Action Word
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18
I listened to a podcast by Ruth Soukup of Do it Scared during my workout this morning titled “Why Action is the Antidote of Fear.” We see this word ACTION when it comes to overcoming fear. (If you want to get motivated to start something, you have to listen to her podcasts!)
Grand Pabbie says in Frozen that only an ACT of true love can thaw the frozen heart. Love is an action, it’s a verb not a noun. We can say we love all we want, but if our actions aren’t showing that, is it really love? I can tell my kids or my husband a million times that I love them, but unless I show them through my actions, would they really know or believe me?
We see the ultimate act of love in Christ on the cross. He sacrificed Himself to show us how much He loves us. That’s an act of true love! He died to be able to have a relationship with us and continue to show us how much He loves us. If we live in this truth, how can there be fear? God is for us! God is with us! He loves us and wants what is best for us. As we lived soaked and saturated in His love, fear will start to disappear, it will thaw away like a frozen heart.
” What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
“Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take me in by the blood of the Lamb. Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am.” Kutless ~ Strong Tower ~ Take Me In
One of my favourite parts of any worship service (in my case, usually Sunday mornings) is the singing. I find I connect on such a deep level with God through worship in song. I love singing, always have (my husband bugs me that I’d make life a musical if I could!) maybe that’s why.
Anyway, with this Easter season coming up, this song has really been on my heart and mind lately.
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Holy of Holies
What exactly is the Holy of Holies? The Holy of Holies is the innermost place of the tabernacle. The tabernacle is the tent the Israelites traveled with while they were wandering in the desert. Once the temple was built, the Holy of Holies was still the innermost part. It was the actual dwelling place of God, surrounded by a thick curtain so no one could see God’s face. God is so Holy, we can’t even stand before Him on our own. This inner place is called the Holy of Holies because it is the holiest possible place to be, God’s presence!
The Day of Atonement
Once a year, on the day of atonement, the high priest went in to the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel’s sins (see Leviticus 16). Of course he couldn’t just waltz right on in there. There was a whole list of things he had to do first to make himself “clean enough” to go into the Holy of Holies and enter God’s presence.
Each and every year, the Jews had been atoning for their sins on the Day of Atonement. The high priest went in to the inner most part of the temple and offered sacrifices. It was a continual thing, never done once and for all.
The Veil Around the Holy of Holies is Torn
Fast forward a few thousand years to the night of the crucifixion. As Jesus breathed His last breath, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38). This curtain was massive. I imagine it being like the giant red curtain in theatres. There is no way anyone could reach the top of it, yet alone tear it from top to bottom. It happened because Jesus was the final high priest. He is the final atoning sacrifice for our sins. God ripped the veil from the top because through Christ, we an come into His presence.
His death allows us into the Holy of Holies! As we discussed on Day 5 of my Free 5 Day Devotional on the Book of Esther (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, sign up here), Jesus came to fulfill all the festivals like He fulfilled the Festival of Purim in the book of Esther. At the crucifixion, He also fulfills the Day of Atonement! We no longer have to make sacrifices each year, we can come directly into God’s presence with confidence because of Jesus’ death.
Happy Easter ~ Let’s Celebrate in the Holy of Holies
Isn’t this an amazing gift?!? The gift of God’s presence. He loves us so much, He couldn’t stand being apart from us! He tore down that veil to bring us into fellowship with Him. Praise the Lord!
I pray that as you go into this Easter season, you know how much God loves you. He died for you to bring you into His presence, His holy presence. May we truly celebrate this amazing gift and amazing grace together.
Have you read the book of Esther before? The whole thing, from beginning to end? Esther is one of my favourite books of the Bible. There’s so many things at play in this book. So I thought, how about doing a devotional on the book of Esther for you all?!?
I’ve never written devotionals before, but there is just so much in this book that jumps out and grabs you. I could’ve written for hours! But I chose to keep it to a 5 day devotional series so I’m not a nuisance in your inbox for the next 50 years 😊
I am so excited to release this to you in a few weeks! (UPDATE: Released as of March 1, 2019!!) If you are already on my email list, you will be the first to receive it. If not, what are you waiting for?!? Sign up now so you don’t miss out!!
The overall theme to Esther (one of them at least) is the contrast between the lives of the guys with big egos vs the lives of guys who are humble. Through this 5 day study, we will look at things such as being an exile in a foreign land, what happens when our pride takes over, and looking at the question of does God need us for His purposes to be fulfilled. So much to cover!
Like I said I am thrilled to be able to share this with you all in the coming weeks. You do not want to miss out on this!
I hope and pray you can learn and glean as much from this book of the Bible as I did while praying through and writing this devotional.
Don’t forget to sign up for our email list! You can be one of the FIRST to get your hands on a FREE copy of my devotional on the Book of Esther.
My kids are sick… both of them, but especially Lily. She’s got a chest infection and is on antibiotics and an inhaler. Last night as I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, listening to her cough, I was just overcome with how much I wanted to just take it away from her. I would take the cough and sniffles in a heart beat for her. That’s how much I love and value her, that’s how much she’s worth to me. What are you worth?
I was at church a few weeks ago, and the worship leader was talking about what our value is. Value is usually determined by how much someone is willing pay for an item. There are somethings I’ll spend a little more money on (I’m usually pretty frugal) because I value them more. Like I said, I highly value my daughter, my family in general. I would do anything for them. So, what are you worth?
You are worth so much, Christ paid His life for you!! His actual, physical life. And not just any death, a humiliating death on the cross. He literally took our place and gave his life for us. That’s how much you are worth to Him!
When Lily was born (check out her preemie story here) I was struck by just how big of a sacrifice this is. There I was, lying naked for all to see. I had my arms stretched out for IV’s and blood pressure cuffs. I was literally about to sacrifice my body for my daughter. In the next couple minutes they would start cutting me open to get my daughter out and save both of our lives. I know, it’s not an exact analogy, but that’s what was going on in my head as I was laying there. This was the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made for someone.
And Christ’s sacrifice for us is so much more! I hope and pray you know how much He loves you and how much you are worth to Him. I pray that He is the one you look to when you are trying to figure out what your worth is. If you’re feeling down on yourself, feeling like you can’t keep up or live up to expectations, remember your worth! Remember what Christ paid for you and live in light of that! You are so loved and treasured.
I wonder what our lives would look like if we really believed how much we are worth. We can have so much confidence and self worth in Christ. If we knew or understood how much Christ paid for us, I think we would all just live in so much more joy and happiness and thanksgiving! I want to live like that! And I can because of Christ’s sacrifice!
What are your thoughts on this? How do you think your life would look if you truly knew how much Christ thinks you are worth and valued? Would it look different?
Merry Christmas everyone!! What a day to celebrate how love came down at Christmas.
I pray you have a Christmas full of love and light! God is love and love came down at Christmastime through His son, Jesus Christ.
I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus until the New Year to spend time with my family, other than a few posts I have scheduled. I’ll “see” you all in 2019!
Looking to get your own Bible this Christmas season? Want to know more about this Jesus who came to show us all love? Please, don’t be shy, I’d love to talk more about it. You can contact me directly through my About Me section. Another great place to start is to get your own Bible (I recommend this Easy to Read Bible you can get from Amazon. Look for the section called “John”. This is a great to place to start learning more about Christ.
Welcome to week 3 of my Advent series, Indescribable Peace this Christmas! I realize I went a little bit out of the traditional order doing Joy last week and Peace this week, but I’m sure there’s some reason God had me write it in the order I did, even if it was just for reminding myself to choose joy last week!
My Story of Indescribable Peace
Our oldest daughter, Lily, was born 11 weeks early (you can read her miracle birth story in my blog post here). We spent 10 long weeks in the hospital with her before we could finally take her home. We ended up taking her home on Christmas Eve of 2014. To this day, no other Christmas present has been able to top that. I don’t think it ever will.
Anyway, as you can probably imagine this was the most stressful thing Pete and I had ever been through. From not knowing if she was going to survive birth or come out breathing, to suspected brain damage, to continual eye exams due to her prematurity, to her stopping breathing and turning blue one night. It was, quite frankly at times, a nightmare I just wanted to wake up from.
But the weird thing is, through this entire journey I felt this indescribable peace. This deep sense of peace that couldn’t be shaken. This sense of peace that no mater what happened, she would be OK and we would be OK. That this whole thing was something larger than ourselves. It really is inexplicable, because I don’t think I could ever do it justice to explain this deep feeling of peace.
Where can we find this Indescribable Peace?
This peace can only come from one place; knowing that God is in control and we are not. He’s not just in control, He’s in control and He cares about us. He’s not plotting or planning bad things to happen. Bad things happen sometimes, like our daughter being born WAY earlier than we thought, but He is right there to walk through the whole thing with us and He wants to do the same with you!
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4
Friends, if I could wish for one thing for you this Christmas, I hope you find this peace within you. Christmas is not supposed to be about the hustle and bustle, or Santa and Rudolph. It’s not about the concerts and cookies, parties or presents. Christmas is about that little bitty baby laying in a manger, who grew into a man that chose to die on the cross for us to bring us peace. Because no matter what, He is with us!
It’s the second week of Advent! This week in my Advent series, we’ll be focusing on Joy! This has been a very convicting post to write as joy is something I still struggle to find day in and day out. I don’t find joy in doing the laundry or washing the dishes. So, there has to be something more, right?!? What is the secret to Joy this Christmas?
What is Joy?
What does joy look like? Pure, unadulterated joy. Here’s a picture of my daughters playing together this summer… this to me is joy.
Why do we call it unadulterated? Adultery in a marriage is cheating on your spouse. Adultery in the Bible is seeking idols or other gods besides the One True God. So how do we commit adultery on Joy? Committing adultery on Joy is when we look somewhere other than Christ for our Joy.
We look to all sorts of other places to try and find joy.
Likes and followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest
Being accepted by others
Having a successful career
These are all things that can definitely bring us feelings of joy. But feelings don’t last, they change. I want to know that joy that is in my heart and doesn’t change based on circumstances. What’s the secret to finding that Joy?
How do we find joy, how do we choose joy? We look to Christ. That is part of the beauty of Christmas; Christ came down to earth to restore our relationship with God. Because of this, we can have the Holy Spirit living in us and experience Joy every day. Joy that doesn’t change when things aren’t going as we had planned. Joy in the midst of sorrow.
Satan will do anything to steal our joy, to take our focus off Christ and try to find our joy elsewhere. We are so much less effective when we aren’t joyful, at least I know I am. It says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”Notice how Jesus says He wants to have life abundantly? That includes joy. He wants us to have an abundance of joy!
So, this Christmas I choose Joy. This Christmas I choose Christ. This Christmas I celebrate Christ’s birth that has given this unending Joy down in my heart TO STAY! What will you choose this Christmas?