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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Child of Hope

Some days, you just need to look across the table into the face of someone older and wiser. Some days, you just need the tender touch of a hand and a word of encouragement over a mug of strong Irish tea. Some days, you just need to be reminded....

I have been having some areas of dread lately. Things in my life that are making me feel anxious and overwhelmed. It occurred to me, after having a talk with a wonderful mentor in my life, that dread is just another word for apprehension and fear. Fear of the unknown mostly. 2 Timothy 1:7 says God did not give me this spirit of fear - He gave me a sound mind.

What I needed to be reminded of is that I am a child of hope. In Ephesians 1, Paul prays for his fellow believers and asks that they will KNOW the HOPE to which they are called. I am CALLED to hope!

One of the most inspirational passages on hope for me is in Lamentations chapter 3. But to truly get the full impact of Jeremiah's words here, you must read the whole chapter. In the beginning, Jeremiah talks of all the hardship and suffering he has done in his life. He says he has been made desolate and bitter. He is "bereft of peace". (ESV) Then, in verse 21, he says, "But this I call to mind and therefore I have HOPE." 

What does he call to mind? God is faithful. God's love is steadfast. God is merciful. 
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore, I WILL hope in Him." Lamentations 3:22-24
After all Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, had seen and been through, he still hoped in the Lord.

Will life be easy? Probably not. Will trials come? Assuredly so. Will the difficulties that threaten to overwhelm go away? Not likely. But the Lord is my portion, says MY soul. I WILL hope in Him.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Come To Jesus

It's not often I can say my days have a theme to them, but today was one of those days. The word for today was 'COME'.

I went to a new (for me) Bible study this morning and the lessons were titled "Come". The first scripture was Mark 10:13-16: "And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, 'Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdoms of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in His arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them." (ESV)

Jesus wants us to come to Him as children, but How do children come?

I am a mom and a Nana of nine and I have spent much time on this earth raising and caring for children. Yes, children come to you with innocence and trust. But the times I always loved was when I walked in a room and one of our little ones would come running with arms up, lopsided grin on their face, and jump in to my arms screaming either 'Mommy' or 'Nana'. The excitement they felt just to be with me made my heart sing.

But here's another thing about children. They don't care what they look like when they come running to jump in your arms. They may be covered in mud or food...or nana's makeup. Let's face it, they may have poopy pants. They don't always smell great or look great, but THEY don't care. Why? Because they know I love and accept them dirt, food, poop, and all.

Guess what? That's exactly how Jesus loves us. Why, oh why, do we think we have to clean ourselves up to come to Him? Because honestly, we can't. Just like a toddler can't effectively bathe or change their own diaper, we can't clean ourselves up without Him, so we may as well just come as we are bringing all our dirt with us.

We sing the Travis Cottrell version of "Just As I Am" at my church that has the following chorus:

"I come broken to be mended, I come wounded to be healed.
I come desp'rate to be rescued, I come empty to be filled.
I come guilty to be pardoned by the blood of Christ the Lamb.
And I'm welcomed with open arms, praise God, just as I am."

I welcome those babies into my arms just as they are. I come to God broken, wounded, desperate, empty, dirty, but I can put on my lopsided grin and run with abandon because no matter how stinky I am He is waiting with open arms to scoop me up and tell me He loves me.

Come to Jesus. It's not hard. You can come just like you are. He's waiting for you with open arms.

Click Here to enjoy the song.


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