Monday, November 28, 2016

The Greatest Love of All

How many of you immediately had Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" song pop into your head as soon as you read the title?? I know I did as soon as I wrote it! Ha!

My daughter is in an area children's choir here where we live. It's a great program and she absolutely loves it! Recently, they had their fall concert. They feature each of the children's choirs as well as the community adult choir. It was a lovely program and all the kids/adults did a wonderful job. But what I remember most was a question the director of the adult's choir asked the kids, and even more so the response. Before each of the adults' songs, the director would introduce it and engage the children with questions. It's charming and he has a real talent with connecting with them. One of the songs they sang was about the "greatest love of all". And so he understandable asked the kids,

"What do you think the greatest love of all is?"

My heart was actually broken from the answers.


These were just some of the answers. I don't specifically recall many of the other ones, but I assure you they were similar.

Some of you may be thinking, "Those sound like great answers to me!". And I would agree that they are good answers....if the question was "What is an example of a great love?"

But that's not what he asked.

He asked:

"What do you think the greatest love of all is?"

Friends...I assure you that none of those answers is one that I would even want to be the answer to that question. Let me tell you why.

People will fail you. You will fail them. It's inevitable.

So why would we want something that we know will fail us to be the definition of the greatest love of all?? We don't. If it fails us, it's not really that great right?

So then if those aren't it, then is there, in fact, a greatest all?

Yes there absolutely is!

The only love that can fall into that category is the love that Christ has for His creation.
It's the greatest because it's perfect.
It's the greatest because it's so undeserved.
It's the greatest because it's unconditional.
It's the greatest because it has no limits.
It's the greatest because it's the love that set the standard.

Guys, the God of the universe- you know the one- He created everything, He's the only true God- yeah that one. He created man. Man failed Him. He could've started over. But He didn't. He loves us so much, that He Himself came TO us, just to rescue us....because we couldn't do it ourselves. We were irrevocably broken. There was NOTHING we could do to fix it ourselves. But love changed that. I love how the author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, of the book The Jesus Storybook Bible describes God's love. She calls it "a never-stopping, never-giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever love". What a beautiful description of the absolute greatest love of all.

Church, it's up to us to share this greatest love. If we don't, then we truly are spreading hate not love. Why? Because this love is the key to eternity with God. If you don't share it, it's like having the cure to cancer and not telling anyone. You would do that out of spite or hatred, not love. Withholding the GREATEST news ever is not love. I know it's hard. I know it's scary. Believe me, I've been there and even still struggle with that sometimes. But I want to live a life compelled to love others because of the love given to me from my beloved Savior. So let's truly love others. Let's shout about our Savior's greatest love from the rooftops!! THAT is spreading love- the greatest love of all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

We Need to Move Forward...

I know that I have made a couple posts about this before, but it still astounds me that even though it appears that we all agree on what needs to's not happening. I'm hearing all kinds of outcries from both "sides" of the political coin- that we need to unite and love. Yet I still continue to see hatred, bullying, and condemnation- the very thing they are preaching against.

If we are all in agreement on what we should do, then why aren't we doing it???

Because I think deep down inside fear is still winning.

I know that I live in a bubble of sorts, but this all seems overkill to me. Yes we have an unprecedented person stepping into leadership in our country. Yes, he has made wild claims. Yes, his moral character is super sketchy. Yes, he's probably not the ideal candidate for this position.

But he won.

We can't change that now. But we can change what's going on as a result.

Pardon me while I scrape my jaw off the floor from the shock of what I see unfolding in our country. People are acting like I would expect junior highers to react to an armageddon. Comfort dogs, counseling, riots, people hiding, hatred spewing from the mouths of those who claim to follow Christ.....I. Can't. Even.


Let me ask you this. Has anything actually happened yet that would warrant this kind of behavior??


He hasn't even taken office. No one is being forced to change anything yet. And honestly....I really don't believe that anything "drastic" that is being speculated about will actually happen. And if it does, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of the citizens of this country will not allow it. I know I won't. So can we all take it down a notch or two? I mean don't you think that you will feel a little silly if none of these things actually happen and you were caught reacting like this? For real....

I know the unknown is scary. Believe me....I am all too familiar with that. But one thing I have learned, is that speculation only leads to ridiculousness. Allow me to explain.

16 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was told I would, at best, have 5 years to live and if I somehow surpassed that, my chance of having kids was zilch because of the chemotherapy I was to have to try to spare my life.

Que freak out.

Actually, my freaking out was kept to a minimum. Sure I had my moments, but one of the benefits of being 16 when I was diagnosed is that I thought like every other 16 year old- I am invincible. Oh sweet innocence....

Now fast forward 16 years. I am still alive AND I have 3 precious babes (all of whom I carried and birthed). So had I given into the normal fears and speculations, I could've spent those first few months/years loathing my potential fate and wallowing in self-pity. That would've made for a miserable way of life and frankly...I would look ridiculous now considering what actually happened was nowhere near what was expected.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? We can sit here, wallow in self-pity, speculate about what could happen, and continue to throw a massive fit about it.


We could stop speculating about a potential future that we really have NO idea about and start actually living again. We could reach out to our neighbor in love and kindness and build relationships with those around us. We could stop thinking about just ourselves and start putting others first. We could love those around us and stand up for them when necessary (not preemptively with no cause).

Had I focused my life on the possible negative outcomes I also would've missed some amazing things in my life. God has used that dark time for good and I got to see it because I didn't constantly live in the "what if".

Did it ever occur to you that maybe God allowed this so He can show Himself in some crazy awesome way? It's happened before and I'm confident it can and will happen again.

So let's do this. Let's stop focusing on the unknown and start living in the now. Because really, we have no idea what the future brings anyways. So let's hope and pray for the best and love the crazy out of people and life. I'm gonna do it. And I hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Washing Feet

In the wake of this momentous election, I was reminded of some truth today. You see, after reading and witnessing the reactions of many, especially those who claim to be part of the Church, my heart was heavy. Even though I knew this would happen, it was heartbreakingly disappointing to actually watch it unfold.

Hatred. Word violence. Despair. Ugliness.

That's what I saw. And I was left speechless...almost. I turned to the only place where I knew I would receive hope and encouragement.


God's Word is so amazing. It's full of beautiful truths and encouraging pictures that point to our glorious Savior.

Today, God brought me to John 13. This is where Jesus and his disciples are eating the Last Supper. They have finished eating and Jesus gets up to perform a radical and jaw-dropping move.

He washed their feet.

That may not seem all that awe-striking to us today, but in that culture it was. It was the ultimate act of servanthood- washing the crud and junk off of someone else's feet.

I mean, to be honest, feet kind of gross me out anyways- even in this day and age. But back then...gag...they didn't have sewer systems or things to clean off the roads (other than rain). So people walked through...everything. Gross.

And here was The Christ...The Messiah...The Savior of the world getting on his hands and knees and washing all of their feet. He was showing them that He was here for a purpose. He came to serve- not to be served. He came to ransom He came to pay a price so huge, that no one else could do it.

But do you know what stuck out to me today? I've read this passage many times but this never really quite hit me this way before.

He washed Judas's feet too.

Judas. The one who would betray him. The one who would, for 30 pieces of silver, willingly hand him over to be brutally murdered. He washed his feet too.

John 13:2 (ESV) says that "the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him."

Guys, God allowed the devil to use Judas to betray Jesus. He ordained it. Why? Because in order for His master rescue plan to be fulfilled, it had to happen. In order for Jesus to rescue you and me, stuff had to go down to make it happen. And it was ugly.

But Jesus washed his feet.

He served him anyways. He loved him anyways. He treated him just like the other disciples, who didn't betray him.

And do you know what else Jesus says in John 13?

"If I then, 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 to you." 
John 13:14-15


Jesus washed the feet of those who loved him and he washed the feet of the man he knew was going to betray him to his death. And he calls us to do the same.

So Church....we need to put our big boy/girl unders on and start "washing one another's feet". But what does that look like?

Well, it means love not hate. 
It means to actively look for opportunities to serve your neighbor/co-worker/friend/enemy. 
It means to think before you post a rant on social media- 
Will it please God? 
Will it point to Christ?
Does this represent me "washing feet"?
It means dying to self. 
It may mean staying off FB if you can't resist chiming in on something that will ultimately lead to hatred. 
It means defending those who can't defend themselves.
It means declaring truth in love, even if it's hard. 
It means forgiving those who offend or hurt you. 
It means showing grace even when everything in you is screaming for justice. 

Is it fair? No. But it wasn't fair that we broke our relationship with God and He had to step in to fix it with a price that cost Him everything. When we compare it to that scale, it really puts things in perspective. 

So will you?? Will you love? Will you be the hands and feet of Christ? Will you "wash others' feet"? It's not easy but we don't have to go at it alone. Let's be the Church. Let's join together, encourage one another, and run this race together. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Exhaustion. Can I get an amen? I'm exhausted most days. I've come to the conclusion that it's a permanent thing once you transition into parenthood.  It's so unfair really. We are not properly warned about the energy vortex that ensues the minute you become a parent. But there's really no way to fully prepare you for it.

I mean, how can something so tiny, so adorable and squishy, and so sweet and innocent suck the absolute life out of you??? It astounds me even to this day.

Yes, parenting is rough- probably the toughest job out there hands down. And yes, it literally sucks the life out of you. But it's worth it. I love my littles, even on the days where I want to pull out every hair on my head.


But that kind of exhaustion doesn't even compare to "soul" weight. Lately, I've been experiencing that level of weariness. And it's heavy.

I can't seem to get away from it. Everywhere I turn, something else adds to the pile.

Parenting woes, constant (sometimes debilitating) physical pain, busyness, family and friends with broken marriages/relationships, sickness, tough social issues, our country, watching the Church implode, etc. It's weighty.

There are days where I don't even think I have the strength or mental capacity to even get out of bed. It's too much. Too hard. There's a lot of days where I simply do not want to "adult" that day. I'd rather snuggle down deep in the comfort of my own bed and my abyss of pillows, drink loads of coffee, and binge watch Netflix all day. (A day of Gilmore Girls, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and While You Were Sleeping sounds absolutely divine!

But that's not reality. And's not going to change anything either. Not dealing with things unfortunately doesn't make them disappear. Trust me, I've tried.

It's in those moments that I'm reminded that I can't do this alone. Those times highlight my desperate need for my Savior.

It's only in Him that I can find rest.
It's only in Him that I can find peace.
It's only through Him that I can keep going.
It's only through Him that my burden can be lifted.
And it's only through Him that my pain can be used for good.

You see, we aren't left to suffer and wallow in our despair alone. We have a Savior who rolled up his sleeves and jumped into the muck with us. He has suffered more than we could ever imagine, and because of that He can understand our suffering. He is a God who cares. He is a God who loves. And He is a God who redeems.

So if you're feeling weighed down today, drop it at the foot of the cross. Let our Savior carry the load. He's already paid for it anyway and He wants you to turn to Him. Weariness can only be cured by complete surrender to Him :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Absolute Truth in This Relative World


That has become a fairly subjective word in our culture today. According to our society, there is no absolute truth anymore. What is true for me may not be true for you. It's relative.

But is it really?

It sounds great initially, but it really is the entrance to a deep cavernous rabbit hole that ultimately leads to destruction. If there is no absolute truth, than morality is subjective as well. If that's the case, then there really is no "right" and "wrong" and that, my friends, is troubling and only leads to chaos.

Fortunately, there is such a thing as absolute truth. Scripture. Praise God for it. It gives us a basis for how to live- a plan for how life works best- a picture book of our Savior's incredible rescue plan for His beloved people.

Absolute truth.

This is what I cling to in these trying days. As we watch our world unravel before our eyes, it is our one constant- our reprieve. God's Word to us...His good and perfect Word.

But lately my heart has been breaking...feeling like it's being ripped in two. God's Word is under attack. And what's even worse is that it's by His own people.

You may have seen/heard about a recent viewpoint that has come out from a couple in the Christian world that have a large platform. As pastors, authors, and speakers they have quite a reach of influence. It was revealed in an interview that they now hold to the view that a monogamous relationship of the same gender is approved by God and even considered to be holy. They claim to have come to this interpretation of Scripture after a year's worth of study, prayer, and seeking the Spirit. And this is the result.

Friends...I was speechless when I first heard this. I felt sick and could literally feel my heart break in two. Why?

Because this viewpoint clearly goes against what Scripture says. There's no way around it. And to say there is, is twisting Scripture to make it more appealing to the masses and to make it easier to swallow.

But that's not absolute truth.

If you had no outside influences, you had never read Scripture before, knew nothing about this issue (either side), and were stranded on a desert island with only a Bible- I guarantee you there would be no question in mind, after reading through it, what God's view of this is. He makes it very clear. Does that make it easier? No. But that doesn't cloud the clarity.

But honestly, what scares me even more is to watch the events that have been unfolding after this announcement. There is literally being a line drawn and people of the Church are choosing sides.

And it's getting ugly.

Do you know that the best way to destroy something is from within? Yep. The enemy knows that too. And that's exactly what he's doing. And he's doing a fine job at it too. But that's where we have to stand next to the only constant true thing here- God's Word.

We cannot drift from it- especially now. Because our world is only going to continue to become more divisive, corrupted, and broken. We have to stand firm, but firm in love.

We are called to stand in truth, but do it in love.
We are called to love, but do it in truth.
We are called to love our neighbor, but to love God first.

That last point may be the most important. When we twist Scripture to make it more palatable, we are now loving our neighbor more than God. If we try to change Him to make Him more appealing to those that are questioning or are not walking with Him, then we are trying to do the Spirit's job. It's not our job to convince someone of God. The Spirit stirs the soul- not us. We are simply the messengers.

As our world continues to change, let's remember to first love God wholeheartedly and also to love others through the lens of His love. The more the world changes, the more desperately we need to cling to Him and to His Word. We will be hearing more perversions of the Word as we move forward. It's guaranteed. So now, more than ever, we need to make sure we ground ourselves in truth. Make sure we are asking God for a discerning spirit and to not try to dig around something just because it's hard or uncomfortable.

Because guess what?

The Gospel is uncomfortable.

In order to truly grasp it, you have to "die to self"- give up yourself entirely- be willing to walk away from whatever stands between you and Christ.

That's uncomfortable to our limited human purview. But oh so worth it.

There's no greater joy and satisfaction than in the arms of Jesus- no matter the cost. And it will cost you on this side of eternity. But you can rest in the fact that it cost our Savior way more than it will ever cost you.

“I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.”
~ John Wycliffe