How can the book of sorrows bring a smile to my face…

When you resolve that all of the Bible is God’s very words and you are going to study every part of it, that includes the heart wrenching parts.

My study was suppose to end for the week after Lamentations 2.  But after reading two heavy chapters that left me heartsick for the Israelites and quite frankly us today, I glanced to the next subtitle in my study bible and saw the word, “hope”, and had to read on.

Even after being warned the Israelites had to figure out for themselves that the wages of sin is death. Lamentations 1:9, Romans 6:23  They were suffering terrible consquences for their disobedience, just as we too can 😦 . I think that’s why it breaks my heart because we too suffer the consequences of not recognizing sin and turning from it.  At this point I stop and jot down in my journal, Am I listening to God’s Word?  Am I obeying not to dodge the consquences but because I love God?  But our icky sin & it’s harsh consequences is not what I really want to write about today.  I mean who really wants to write about sin?  I am not sure Jeremiah really wanted to write about it, but I am thankful he was obedient.

Now back to that word, “hope”, that I see in the coming chapter.  After reading chapters 1 & 2 I had questions swirling around in my mind. I began to read Lamentations 3 and it didn’t start any better.  But finally at verse 21 we come to the words, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.”  What does the author Jeremiah call to mind?

The steadfast love of the Lord

His mercy

His faithfulness

He is our hope

His goodness

His compassion

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”  ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:21-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

How can the book of sorrows bring a smile to my face…

one name JESUS!

You see I can’t read somber books like Lamentations and not quickly be thankful for my salvation in Jesus Christ.  The Lord loved us so big in His mercy and faithfulness He gave us HOPE!  Our hope is in Jesus.  Thank God sweet Jesus has made a way for us to come to the Father.

But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight-not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago.  We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins.  And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.  Romans 3:21-22 NLT

So I encourage you friends, there is sweetness even in the hard parts of the Bible.

Lord, help us recognize our sin, take it to the feet of Jesus and sin no more.  Thank you for the beloved gift of salvation!

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I will not stop dreaming with Jesus but…

I am grinning as I stop for a few minutes to jot these words down.  God is so sweet to speak to me in the everyday ordinary.  I just finished a study this morning, encouraging me to not only be a hearer of the word, but a doer of the word.  James 1:22

I close my bible motivated to get out there and do big things.  I finish the breakfast dishes and begin to sort laundry while dreaming of what God might have planned for me to do.  My sweet 5 year old daughter comes in with a clip board, paper and pen and begins to give me points…

1 point for dishes

1 point for sorting laundry

1 point for starting the laundry

Oh, and 2 points if you make chocolate chip cookies for Granddad

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And after a few minutes she comes back and says, “You get a whole row of points.”

“Oh really, why?”

“For kindness.”

This is when my heart melted.

I love her and I cherish these moments when the Lord embraces me with love and kindness through the words of my children.  Does anyone else out there hear from God through their children?  Oh, the sweetness. 🙂

God is not standing over us giving us points, but he does see the everyday mundane.  For a girl that has dreams of spreading the gospel (in big ways or small ways, or are there small ways 🤔, hmmmmm) but not really sure how to do that yet, I need to be reminded that the ordinary everyday is the important work the Lord has called me to right now.  As I write, I am recalling a statement Margaret Feinberg left me with at Women of Joy.  Will I be faithful and joyful where God has called me to serve for as long as He calls me to serve there?

I am not always kind when I do dishes and laundry but I guess this morning the Word of God softened me.  My daughter saw the kindness of Jesus.  Maybe for now being a doer of the Word starts in my laundry room…

All this to say, I will not stop dreaming with Jesus but I do want to serve Him faithfully right where He has me.  In the laundry room or out there in that great big world,  I desire for my life to be a tangible reflection of the gospel.

Lord Almighty, help us be joyful doers of the Word right where you have placed us as we continue to dream with you! ❤

 

Get Out There and Smile & Dance

I had no idea I would tear up during a dance recital. You see, this world of sequins, glitter, tight buns and sparkly makeup is brand new to me.

I don’t really know what I was expecting but it was an evening of beautiful creativity. Each group, each costume, each brave dancer, each song was art to my soul.

I watched with much admiration as my tiny dancer and the other dancers gracefully walked out on stage, with smiles and danced their heart’s out. There was something I saw in them that I have been missing.

Here lately, I have been missing my smile and dance. No, I don’t literally dance. I still am not sure how I made it through Jr. High cheerleading. Thank you best friend for trying to keep me on beat.  Today, I am speaking of my smile and dance for Jesus.

My brain can be a mess sometimes. I love the Lord and I delight in His ways. But, lately I have been so caught up in right and wrong, sin or not sin, black or white, or gray, or is there gray? I felt my smile drooping and my dance slowing. Sometimes I try to figure this messy world out. I do not do good with gray areas, yet I too am guilty of living there. I know that sounds crazy, but I might spend days striving to figure out some mess. When I fall into this trap, I find myself focused on darkness and not on the Light of the world.

Today, Jesus lifted my face and said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

That’s it! He is my smile and my dance! All I need to do is abide in Him. Remain in Him always. Stay as close as I can to Him. I can not bear fruit when I am not remaining in Jesus. The world we live in is messy but we serve a God who can handle the mess. Hallelujah!

Ye are the branches-you need to be nothing more. You need not for one single moment of the day take upon you the responsibility of the vine. ~ Andrew Murray

Lord help us abide in You and get out there and smile and dance with grace!

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Here’s some encouraging lyrics and a link to a song that will get your feet moving. 🙂

Even when the world gets crazy
instead of watching it
I keep my eyes glued to you
and wait for what your gonna do
Cause I’ll be holding on to your promises yeah I remember what you said
If I fight the good fight
I’ma I’ma be alright