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Filtering by Category: John

A new command to love

Meg

 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35, HCSB).

 

They were in the midst of The Last Supper. Judus, the discipline who was going to betray Jesus, had already been sent out of the room. And now Jesus left his disciples with a final command. He told them He was leaving soon, returning to be with God the Father, and that they had a great task while they were here on earth. They had to love, like He had loved.

I find it interesting that Jesus gave this command here, just after Judus had left. The disciples would certainly have a lot to face in the days to come, a lot of people to be mad at, including Judus. Judus had been in their closest group of friends, their confiendent, one of Jesus' selected twelve. It would be hard for them to come to terms with his betryal. It would take a lot for them to turn around and love, love Judus, and love the very people who had nailed their Lord to the cross. They would see this all come down personally. They would experience all the feelings, the outrage, the confusion, the judgment. So the words Jesus spoke here were personal. Their job here on earth would be to love. Love people into the kingdom, tell them the good news of Christ and the price He paid for all of our sins. 

We all carry personal grievances, things that have been done against us, ways in which we feel we have been wronged. Honestly, some of my greatest grievances are against fellow Christians. People who have done me wrong, hurt me over the years. It's amazing how we can hold onto such things, carry them along as baggage for years. One thought, one memory, and the wrong doing comes back to haunt us again. Have you ever been there? I know it doesn't take much for me to get mad about something that happened years ago. A memory will surface, and before I know it, my shoulders were tense, my brow will furrow and my heart will start to race. Suddenly I'm in that place again, and I feel so angry, so wronged, so indignant. 

But I truly believe that God wants something differently for me, and for all believers. He doesn't want us to live in such moments, to dwell on such wrongdoings. The disciples could have focused on how their buddy Judus had wronged them. They could have carried those grievances with them for the rest of their lives, or they could give them up, let go, move on in love. It really is a choice, focus on the injustices, or focus on loving. Loving the very people who have wronged us, loving when it's difficult, when it doesn't come easy. Loving, sharing God's love with those around us. Loving the people closest to us, even when they get on our nerves. 

Sometimes there's that person that seems impossible to love. They rub you the wrong way, get on your last nerve, really annoy you to no end. Trust me, I've been there more than once. Sometimes, I've chosen to just let them annoy me, to move on and not seek out friendship. But, sometimes, I've chosen to love. I've chosen to dig deeper, try harder, seek out things we've had in common. I've asked God to help me love them. To fill in the gaps that I can't. The love of Jesus is a beautiful thing. The friendship grown out of seeking mutual ground is even more beautiful. It's love there. Love that can only come of God above. A love that looks past weaknesses and loves anyway. It's a beautiful thing. 

And here's another honest thought. Sometimes it's hard to love my children. Sometimes, when I'm sleep deprived, headache ridden, and I have two children screaming and pulling on me, I don't feel all that loving. I don't feel all that joyful. Instead, I feel grumpy. I feel dissatisfied. But that, that's a feeling. Feelings that are perfectly human.

God's command to love goes so much deeper than a feeling. It's the ins and outs, day to day. It's feeding, clothing, investing time in my children. It's praying over them day and night, teaching them right from wrong. It's actively living out 1 Corinthians 13 for them, and for those around me. This type of love is no easy task. I can identify a feeling, but this deeper love is so much harder to see, so much harder to live out. On my own, I truly don't think I could live out agape. I see everyday how I fall up short. I truly need Jesus to even begin this. But this is true love. This is unfailing love. This is the very love that God has for all of us. A love that does not fail. A never ending love. A kind, patient love. It's a love that's outside of me and that only can be done when I surrender my everything to Jesus. It's the kind of love I pray that I can have for my children, my husband, my friends, and even those I find the hardest to love in this life. I'll leave you with the description of this type of love. They're such beautiful words. Bask in the glory and wonder of a Savior who loves each of us this way:

Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13, HCSB)

 

on waiting and living water

Meg

I spent last Friday morning waiting, waiting and more waiting. It's funny, I'm always longing for more time to myself, and then when it comes, I stand impatiently, moving through the line, disliking all the wasted time, being assigned a letter and number combination to define me. Babies being taken care of by their loving papa, so thankful for him, this morning would have been far more crazy with two little ones in tow. Thankful that they're being distracted while I wait in line for several hours. Every few years I go through the motions, renew the id. Military life means transitions, and so I update addresses, take a new picture that supposed to look something like me, define me. Answer weight, height, hair color, eyes.
My head aches from the people in front of me puffing smoke as we waited before the doors even opened. It amazed me that people were outside so early. We commented a little about the crazy lines, and then I read my book, enjoying the quiet, probably the quietest moments I'll have in this crazy day. Because usually I wear the hat of mommy, from morning until night and even through the nigh, I'm booger whipper, crumb sweeper, singer of songs, puzzle player, bike rider with kids in trailer behind. Discipliner, tear wiper, solid confidence when they need it.
No small task, I'm amazed that I do it. As I think back on Emma's stitches, I'm amazed at how calm I was, husband did't even think about coming to the hospital because I seemed so collected. Day by day I worry about little insignificant things, but faith comes in when it matters, faith helps me to stand strong when I need it, when I couldn't on my own.
Faith, when I remember that I don't have to do anything to earn salvation. That price has already been paid.
Yes, earthly problems come and go, but the big thing, eternity, has already been sorted out.
Sometimes I feel so carnal, so earthy. I feel like I must be making every possible mistake when it comes to parenting, to being a friend, to living this life. But then, I close my eyes, I remind myself that I'm a daughter of the king. I take a moment to breathe, perhaps I step outside and breathe in some fresh air, let the quiet, just for a second, rest on me.
And I"m reminded that I have nothing to measure up to. No impossible standard to me. The Holy Spirit dwells in me. Living water runs through my heart, in my life, in my very words.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water" (John 4:10, HCSB).

And I say a prayer, that the words I say to others would reflect this life, this living water. Because I don't always feel that full. Sometimes I need the reminder that God is at work in my life. That I'm not alone as I discipline my spirited three year old. That God is there, beside me, giving me wisdom and strength when I have none.
He is living, inside of me, how I want my life to reflect this. Not as a pressure, an impossible goal that I've set for myself, but out of love. Out of a desire to serve Him and share His love with those around me.

And so, I thank Him for any unexpected quiet moments throughout my day. I pray for refreshment, and for love and wisdom as I face my children, training them up in the ways they should go. Because oh how I want them to love Jesus.

Faith eyes

Meg

Faith means believing in God's sovereignty. It means trusting He is on the throne, in command of all things, and working through every circumstance that comes our way. When we have that kind of faith, we have peace in the midst of trails. But when we forget God's soverienty, throubling circumstances cause us to despair. We survey the landscape with our eyes instead of with our faith" (Chuck Smith, Faith ,6).
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Feet Washing

Meg

Hello my friends!

The image of feet washing is on my heart this evening. As I write this post, I'm contemplating a lot of my priorities in this life, and wondering how much I truly serve? How much of my life is focused on myself, and accomplishing daily tasks, verses really giving to those around me? This life I have is truly a wonderful one. It is always my desire to live each day for Christ, but is that evident? Can other's see that? Or do I just seem like any girl, trying to get by in life?

"When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, 'Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you'" (John 13:12-15, HCSB).

But what does feet washing look like? How may it already be evident in my own life?

Does it include the dirty laundry, including my husband's dirty socks?

Or what about the meals I sometimes make, when someone's in the hospital?

Perhaps its giving food to stock the food pantry at our church.

Or going out of my way to love on a deployed spouse from our squadron.

It may be doing that menial task no one wants to do.

Or, it could just be loving the people God has placed in my life.

I'm such a task oriented person that it's easy for me to just run from one scheduled event to the next. When I'm so focused on getting things done, I often miss out on what God may have for store in the in-between. I'm definitely getting a balance check, as I list out all the ways I could be serving. Using a toddler as my excuse doesn't work as well anymore. She could be learning to serve as well, if I got myself in motion.

A friend of mine has gotten me into couponing. It's definitely a new adventure to be on! It totally changes the way you shop for groceries. No, we don't necessarily need to coupon at the moment, but, as a military spouse, I definitely see the need. There may be a time where our circumstances change, or , we may live in an area where food is a lot more expensive. But, even greater than this, is my desire to give. By couponing, I'm freeing up resources so that we can give to others. Also, when I come across "freebies", I can then give those to local shelters and pantries. We may not need the excess (especially as we move from place to place), but I'm sure that there's someone who does.This is definitely a way I could start serving those around me. Giving to those who have a need.

Washing Feet.

It certainly doesn't seem like a pleasant task. But is there anything better than sharing God's love in a practical way? Loving, giving, sharing, these are all things I could be displaying on a daily basis. I wonder what I could do tomorrow, to truly share God's love with those around me? What should I start with?

Worship

Meg

"Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name; worship Yahweh in the splendor of His holiness" (Psalm 29:2, HCSB)

"Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth" (Psalm 96:9, HCSB)

"Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool" (Psalm 132:7, HCSB).

"Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for Him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil—pure and expensive nard—anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil" (John 12:1-3, HCSB).


How do you worship?

I find that life is extremely busy, as of late. It's rare for me to have a day that we don't leave the house for some reason. Our days are filled with couponing (our newest hobby!), play groups, coffee dates, a book study/Bible study, workouts, bread baking and house cleaning. Little E usually takes a two hour nap in the afternoon, but even that is a battle some days. Her nap time is usually my time to get things done around the house, serf the internet, or take a nap myself. I'm truly tired by the end of the day! I love our busy life, but I usually don't have much time for myself. And that time I have, I don't always spend wisely.

At one point, I remember being extremely overwhelmed about life. I don't remember who spoke to me, but someone wise pointed out that worship is a matter of living. We don't have to beat ourselves up about the time we do or don't spend with Jesus each day. Sometimes I think that life of a nun sounds quite marvelous, they can spend all day worshipping God, without outside restraints. But that is not my life. God has blessed me with this beautiful family, so, I believe it's my job to worship Him with what I have. Worshipping Him with the moments. Giving thanks for the picture perfect scenery I wake up to, early morning devotional times with a cup of coffee in hand, a cuddly little girl who loves to read books, this is my life. I do my best to start each day right, so that I can worship God with each day I've been given. The words I speak, the thoughts i put in my head, the music I sing, all of it brings glory to God (I hope!).

In the book of John, Mary anoints Jesus' feet with oil. She then wipes His feet with her hair. It's such a beautiful sign of adoration. She truly loves her Savior, and is demonstrating it to Him in a feasible way. She's worshipping Him with her life. Yes, some would ridicule her for the act, but she really didn't care. All that mattered was her worshipping Jesus. I want that to be my attitude as well. I truly want to live each day, worshipping Christ, and not caring what the rest of the world thinks. I want to anoint His feat each day. Submit to His plan, His way. Live my life for Him.

What does worship look like to you?

 


Palm Branches

Meg

Sometimes I'm afraid to write. I'm afraid to be so transparent with the rest of the world. The internet is a big place. When I share something, I open up myself to a great big world out there. But if I don't share, then how will anyone know? How will anyone know about my Jesus? How will anyone know that it is HIM who strengthens me each and every day?

Sunday was Palm Sunday. The skies were blue, the weather was warm, and the message at church was just what I needed. It was a great reminder of Jesus, His rightful place as King, and the need, in all our hearts, to submit to His plans.

Sometimes I begin to think I know His plans. I track out in my mind exactly what the next five, ten, even fifteen years will look like. But God has been asking me lately if I trust him.

Do I truly trust Him with my husband’s job? I didn’t set out to be a military wife. I honestly didn’t think I’d live a thousand miles away from my family. But  I do. I didn’t think deployments would be a part of my life, but they are. Do I trust Him that this life is our calling? That we are here for a reason. That He will use this deployment to teach and strengthen us? That His good and perfect will is better than anything I could ever dream?

Yes Lord.

Yes, I trust you.

No, I don’t always understand. But, honestly, you never cease to amazing me. Your blessings are so plentiful, your good and perfect will, so complete.

So, yes, I trust you.

Yes, I give my dreams over to you today and every day.

Plant your desires within my heart (Psalm 37:4).

Today, and everyday, I submit to you. I lay my palm branches at your feet, because you are my King.

 

"They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna!' 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' 'Blessed is the king of Israel!'" (John 12:13, NIV).

The laying of the Palm branches was a sign of great respect. By laying them at Jesus' feet, the people were worshiping Him as the King of Kings. What palm branches could you lay at Jesus' feet today? What does this Easter week mean to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hidden Blessing of Solitude

Meg

I love having my husband at home. We talk, watch British Comedies, and play games together. We take walks, enjoy the outdoors, and dream about the future. I truly enjoy his company. Just the same, I always learn something when he’s gone. I always learn something when I’m alone, late at night in an empty house, with creaky walls and dark hallways. God always seems to teach me something in the quiet.

In my devotions today I was reminded that even Jesus sought out solitary spots from time to time (see John 6:15;Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42). They were places he went to pray and seek the face of God.

For me, solitary places are times when I learn to depend on God. They’re the times when I’m reminded that I am safe and sound in the arms of Jesus. They’re the times when I’m reminded that God is truly all I need to survive. I don’t need anyone or anything else. They’re the times when I move my focus away from earthly things and back to the face of God, where it belongs.

No, I don’t always enjoy be alone. Cooking for one can be tedious, and the bed can get really cold at night without someone beside me, just the same, I’m starting to learn that God is ready and willing to speak to me in these moments of solitude, if only I shut off my brain and open my heart.
What about you? What does God teach you in moments of solitude?

Lord, thank you for comforting me through the lonely times and for reminding me that you are my true refuge and strength (Psalm 46).

Christmas Love

Meg

With the military comes a good bit of traveling. Last week my husband was out of state, this week the two of us will be traveling half-way across the country to visit with family and friends. The time together will be a good one, but I’m sure it won’t be without it’s drama. What family isn’t? Isn't that part of what makes family get-togethers so precious? Here we are, stuck together in a family for life, forced to love through flaws and shortcomings. I was reminded yesterday in church that it’s not my place to change my family, or to make their lives better, but to just simply love them. What a simple task, but we often make it so overly complicated. We think loving is such a hard thing.

To be honest, I would never have the capacity to love, if it wasn’t for Christ. He is the one who showed us all what true, sacrificial love is all about. He is the one I want to love like.

I’ll be honest, I in no way have this all figured out, but my resolution for Christmas this year is to simply love. If this means not bringing up certain issues or topic, then so be it. I’ll love, and let God do the rest.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
“Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble” (1 John 2:10).
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).