Daddy Loves You…

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Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

Daddy loves you.

Imagine if those were the first sounds, the first words, you ever heard.

As I watched the news this morning they showed a video of a child hearing His fathers voice for the first time. He had been deaf since birth, but thanks to new technology he was finally able to hear.

“Daddy loves you,” his father said.

The boys face lit up with unsepakable joy. He may not have known what was being said, or what the sounds making up the words actually meant, but he heard his daddy’s voice saying, Daddy loves you.

What if those were the first words you ever heard?

Would you realize how important they were?

I don’t know what your earliest memories are. What the first thing is that you remember hearing. I do know that we tend to remember the negative words spoken to us a great deal longer than the positive ones. I also know there isn’t a human being aroud who doesn’t have some sort of negative self-talk in their mind. They may have learned to tame it, to refute it, but it is still there.

I fear that far fewer of us walk around with a tape playing in our mind that says “Daddy Loves You”.

How many of us remind ourselves when we are alone and afraid that Daddy Loves You?

When we are hurting and broken, Daddy Loves You.

When we don’t understand or feel out of control, Daddy Loves You.

When love doesn’t look or act like we want it to, Daddy STILL Loves You.

The unconditional love of the Lord, love that cannot be shaken or moved – it’s difficult for our humanity to process. We can’t quite make sense of the Words. But regardless – it is truth. Daddy Loves You.

As you move throughout your day , be concious of the tapes playing in your mind. The messages you are hearing. Where did they begin? Where did they come from? Are they true? And could they easily be replaced with the Truth of His Word? Will you choose to replace them with Truth? Will you choose to hear, and remember, Daddy Loves You.

Consider it done…

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There are people. The ones you don’t even have to ask. They see a need, and the next thing you know, it’s done.

And for the least of these this is exactly what we can be. The ones who see a need and get it done. The need is met. The battle won. But if you are like me, sometimes you fall victim to the everybody else syndrome.

Why should I do it?

Aren’t there other people who take care of that?

I mean surely, there are people who could do a better job meeting that need than me?

Aren’t there people who actually get paid to take care of these people?

Why should I do it when there are so many other people to do it?

I love what the Bible says in Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Whatever you DID for the least of these you DID for me. Hard core evidence that the Lord expects us to DO things. To act when we see someone in need. As Christians, when Christ opens our eyes enough to identify a need, He equips often equips us to meet that need. Not that we are called to meet every need we see, but when we feel the Holy Spirit tug on our heart, it’s usually a good sign that we need to pray and often DO.

I am first to admit that I haven’t always enjoyed doing things for other people. In fact, selfishness wins TOO often. But when I let the Lord win, when I serve Him by serving others, I find that I am blessed.

In fact, did you know that serving others is shown to be effective in treating depression? I love how God created us. He designed us for service. To feel good when we serve others and to feel down when we don’t. God strategically wired us to receive emotional satisfaction when we serve. He is such a brilliant amazing God.

So if you are feeling down and out, or even if you are feeling up and excited, do something this week to get out and serve. It can be as easy as picking up a few pieces of trash when you visit the park. Or you could do a craft project with your kids and take something fun for the kids at a shelter or a hospital. You could take canned food to a food pantry. Or even cook a meal for a neighbor. If you don’t know what to do, ask the Lord to show you, and oh girl, He WILL!

So get ready! Get going! Get serving! Open your eyes and look for your Jesus in need. Because whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Him. When Christ opens our eyes to a need, let’s be the kind of daughters that allow Him to consider it done!

Making peace with the foot stench…

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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

I smelled a funky smell. Stinky socks…or feet. It had to be stinky socks or feet. And of course, it HAD to be coming from my husband. He is the one with the foot stench. But as I walked around the house I noticed the smell followed me wherever I went. That’s when it hit me. I had worn the same socks during my workout for the last 3 days. I bent down to sniff my feet and WOW! Yep, the foot stench was mine.

There are a few things I have had to get used to as my husband and I continue our intense workout program. Sweat. Stink. Soreness. Dirty hair. Superfluous amounts of deodorant have now become necessary. As well as a shower before bed rather than in the morning.

Sacrifices. I am making sacrifices so that I can be fit and in shape. And I have a choice when it comes to these sacrifices. I can get upset about them, or I can make peace with them.

And as I pondered this while sitting in my dirty bathwater, it occurred to me that my workout experience is not that different from other experiences in my life with “peacemaking”. I have to make peace with ridiculous amounts of sweat because I want to be fit, and sometimes I have to make peace with the “flaws” I notice in others, and let them go, because I want to have peaceful relationships. I can’t expect to have a good workout without sweating, and I can’t expect to have a relationship with a person without them having some flaws. The sooner I accept those flaws (sometimes even embrace them) and extend grace, the sooner peace will wash over my heart.

I am not writing about times when you need to confront a brother or sister in the faith because they have fallen into a pit of sin. Certainly with close relationships God will give us direction as to how we handle these matters. I am talking about the things other people do that annoy us or get our emotions all tightly wound. Like when my husband loads all the dishes in the dishwasher yet refuses to turn it on. Or when I get irratated at him over something silly, like not celebrating an event in the way or to the magnitude I expected him to. Sometimes the flaws we see in other people grow to such a giant size in our minds that they overtake the joy of the relationship – and all we see is the flaw.

At the root of this usually lies unrealistic expectations. Nothing will kill a relationship faster than these overblown, intenally created, ideas that we want others to live up to. If we want to have peace in our relationships and in our lives, we must be peacemakers. We must make peace. What is one way we can do that? Release others from unrealistic expectations. Set them free from the tightly wound mental threads and release them to have the flaws and quirks that make them who they are. Honestly, these “flaws” may be what drew you to them in the first place.

And so, yes, I will make peace with my sweat, and think of it as a pretty glow! And I will make peace with the dishwasher issue and be thankful that he loads the dishwasher in the first place. And by doing so, I will make peace. And peacemakers and children of God.

Can You depress me more…

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But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17

I am depressed and I want to stay that way. I don’t hear that often, from myself, or from others. But I am in a state of depression, or trying to get to a state of depression, that is desirable. A pressed down firm holding place of myself so that Christ can impress His name upon my heart. A depressed state of living within myself, a complete letting go limp, so that Christ can impress this broken body with His strength. I never thought depressed could be such a thing of longing for.

I am not speaking of depression as the mental health world would define it. God has delivered me from that depression. He has overcome. I am not speaking of self-abasement or a self hatred that would aspire a false humility based in pride. I am speaking of a literal and wanting depression of oneself so that Christ may manifest Himself in our hearts in a more pure and concentrated manner. A wanting of nothing more than more of Him and less of me. A desire for wisdom to reighn in the heart so that acts of true humility may abound from the hands of Christ. That is my deepest desire, born not of myself, but of Him in me.

Valleys of life left me in low places. Jealousy brought service out of desire for unconditional positive human regard. But death inside my heart blooming into life is something brought purely of the resurrection. The wisdom I seek is wisdom pure of heart and mind. Wisdom only present when completely renewed by the righteousness of The Lord, undeserved, but thickly lavished.

Thank you Lord that you offer us a wisdom that is pure. Untainted by our hearts and minds. Thank you for depressing the parts of us that are unwilling and replacing them with humility. We find ourselves swimming in oceans of love faultlessly bathed in your righteousness. Thank you for the rivers of peace that flow. Thank you for humility that crushes pride. Thank you for wisdom that serves and mends. Praise you for death that brings life. Help us know you more as we actively seek an impression of your grace.

Know, love, and give…

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Sacrifice is a moon full of reflection. What we are willing to sacrifice reflects on you, reflects on me, and everyone watching with eyes wide open.

The sacrificial gift is never easy to give. Not only is there difficulty during the sacrifice itself, but the journey of getting there stings all the more.

The ruminating thoughts of “what if I didn’t have to do this” or “couldn’t this be done differently” or “why did you pick me for this God”?

I find the most difficult part of sacrificing is not the actual giving of the gift, it’s what must be given up in order to give.

The choices we must make to love others, to value others, beyond ourselves.

Romans 12:1 puts it this way,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

We are to live our lives as a sacrifice. The pleasure based center of the human will says this is impossible. That I am to live for me! To make me happy! But in full view of His mercy, we know we must reflect something other than our humanity.

When we choose to sacrifice, we choose to reflect Him. And so we push past the things we want to hold onto.

Will this sacrifice mean giving up time, money, resources? The answer may be yes. Will it require us to even spend time away from home causing our family to sacrifice as well? The answer may be yes.

Sacrifice gets hairy. Dirty. Stinky. For Christ, even bloody. It can be a mess. And it’s knowing this and willingly going anyway that’s the hardest part.

Jesus knew. He knew the pain that would come. He knew what would happen if He didn’t come…and He came.

He knew, and He came, because He also loved. And as love moved Him it can move us. To take steps beyond our humanity and sacrificially give the love that was sacrificed to be ours.

Know…love…and give.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of your sacrifice, and being able to sacrifice a small part for you today.