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Monday, September 26, 2005

Just like your Father

Most of you know I was in a car accident on Friday as Amy and I went to lunch. I am still waiting to see if my car is totaled or not, but my guess is it very well could be.

It's been interesting. Although this whole thing has been NOT fun at all, it really was one of the most significant learning times I've had in a long, long time. Friday morning I was in a really good mood--looking forward to Elevate. Even as the wreck happened I was surprisingly calm (for me :) anyway), and the lady I was in the accident was super as was the police.

The "best" part, however, was a real picture of God's grace that my Dad showed me. I am a daddy's girl, I admit, but even then, I have an extraordinary father. He has always been my calm rock, steady, loyal, and sacrificial in his love for me.

On Friday we talked about the wreck again and the estimate to get it fixed was around $4300+. He bought me this car for a graduation gift, has paid for it (and the insurance) and is about $4500 from paying it off. If it is totaled, we MAY have enough to pay off the note of the useless car. Then not only would all that money he put in the car be useless, I would still need a car on top of that.

Was he angry? No. Did he call me stupid or irresponsible? No. Did he guilt me once for all of this? No. The last words he said was, "Baby, don't worry about it. Get a good nights' rest and I'll take care of it." Wow.

I got off the phone and just cried. I still tear up when I think of it. What a picture of Jesus. Just like Jesus, my dad took MY mistakes and paid the price for them. He took the load on himself and at his own personal cost and comfort to help me. His only concern was my safety. That night my dad was Jesus in the flesh to me. I can't say how that filtered everything I heard on Saturday.

I kept thinking about how my dad reacted and thought, how much MORE God must love us! How much GREATER was Christ's sacrifice for us! I am overwhelmed by grace. My earthly dad's grace, and my heavenly Father's grace. Undeserved merit. It is humbling to accept. Yet that is all I can do. Accept it, (cry), be thankful, and tell everyone I know about it.

God brought to mind a verse this weekend I'd memorized about 6 years ago. It is Matthew 7:11 " If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

If my dad, though he is a sinner, knows how to give good gifts to me, how much MORE will my heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask him! (God, this is me asking that you bless my father for his love and faithfulness to me by taking care of his needs as he takes care of mine. And I also pray that You will continue to show me and overwhelm me with how much you love me!)

This has always been one of my favorite MercyMe songs. My own dad make this song come even more alive to me this weekend.

Just Like Your Father Lyrics

Believe me when I say
You look familiar in a certain way
Believe me when I say
I think I met you some other day
There's something about you that I can see
An it shines right through you an approaches me

Oh but now I know
Oh yes I know
You're just like your father
You got your daddy's ways
You walk so close to him picked up his traits
You're just like your father
Got your daddy's ways
You're just like the man I met when I was saved
You look like your father

You got your daddy's eyes
You got your daddy's hands
You got your daddy's smile
You got your daddy's plans
Before you speak, people know who you belong to
It's how much it shows
I can see the love of God from the start
First thing I noticed he's got your heart

You have got something, a satisfying peace
He dwells within you, so many long to see

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not in the Eye of the Beholder

I love make-over shows. I don't know why or how a new outfit, haircut, and some make-up tips can change people's lives so quickly, but it does. I got a haircut last night and love it (for once). We all go through times when a new outfit, our hair or something outward makes us feel good.

Many times, attractiveness is what the world uses to judge us worthy or not. I was thinking of Jesus and how He went against even that standard. In Isaiah 53:2 it says of the coming Jesus, "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."

Hmm. Isn't that interesting? NOTHING in his appearance would attract us or make it so we desire Him. I don't know about you, but that makes me a little uncomfortable. I always imagine Jesus as looking kind, gentle, handsome even. Yet, scripture teaches that there was nothing attractive about him at all.

I think it is easy for me to imagine the disciples following Jesus when I think of him as a handsome, commanding figure. But unattractive? Wow, God knows the hearts of men. He knew if Jesus looked like Brad Pitt, people would be attracted to Jesus looks not His true power.

In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

How many times do I do this to people? They are attractive, I assume they are a good person or worthy or talented, or whatever. Maybe they aren't a super-model or dress that great, but they are an amazing person of God. I need reminding of that.

(And this is a free tip for all you single people out there. Let your desire be that theperson you date/marry be that his/her character is greater than their looks. In other words, do people talk about your significant other's looks or what kind of woman/man they are? Okay, I am done nosing around!)

Disclaimer: This is not intended to say or imply that looking good, being well dressed and groomed, or attractive is evil, bad, or less holy. Simply what is your measuring stick with people--is it their appearance or their heart?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Oh, Oh living on a prayer....

Prayer is a funny thing. It is such a balance between us asking and God answering. Sometimes I wonder what things I have missed out on because I failed to pray.

That seems almost blasphemous to say that some things we do not have because we do not ask. It would be except He tells us so in James 4:2 ("You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.")

JT shares a story in his newsletter to his supporters about move-in day. He was getting discouraged because all the students he ran into were disinterested at best with the whole Christian thing. Kels encouraged him to pray for opportunities to meet key freshmen.

After he prayer for this, the very next student he approached had been praying to get involved with the BSU but had no idea how! Then just 30 minutes later he joins some of our upperclassmen who were helping move in a family.

The mom asked which organization they were with and they said the BSU. She was excited because she was involved at the BSU in Nebraska. One of our students quickly asked if she knew his mom, who was also in involved in the BSU in Nebraska. She screamed, "SHE WAS MY ROOMMATE IN COLLEGE!" and quickly hugged him.

This is a cool story no matter how you spin it, but it is a great example of how sometimes God only gives when we ask Him!

So I want to leave you with this. Pray something specific for yourself today. Ask God to encourage you through people--specific people--or in a specific area of your life--or through unusual or unique people you'd never expect and see how He answers.

I love this verse. Insert your name and see how this can encourage you....we have a great God!

Exodus 33:17 "And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

Friday, September 9, 2005

Holding on or letting go?

I was watching the news this morning, and, as expected, they were covering the Hurricane Relief Effort. One of the stories was about the steps rescuers had to take to forcibly remove people form their homes.

One of the stories showed a whole family leaving--all but one. The one older woman literally clung to her storm-and-flood ravaged house. The river of raw sewage, chemicals, dead bodies, etc flowed next to her feet. She was crying and screaming that she couldn't leave her home.

It stuck me how anyone would WANT to stay in that place. But as I thought about it, it stuck me that I have done the same thing. And people do this very same thing each day.

How many times does God come and try to rescue us from ourselves? He comes to offer living water and food that will never parish. Instead of thankfully accepting, we cling to what we consider life. We hold onto the comfortable or the only earthy things we have for fear that if we let go of these things we will have nothing.

How did that old woman know that the life she was leaving would be better than what she had? How would she know that from the death and destruction would be a new, clean home? What if, by taking that step, she wasn't better off?

I can see so many of our friends and family doing just that as we offer Christ to them. It is hard to let go of all you've ever known or had and step into a boat with a stranger. Yes, we can see from the outside the better life. We see the new, clean, safe environment that is on the other side. We don't understand why they cling to garbage--surrounded by dead--because they are afraid.

And we do it too. We cling to the familiar or the known things, and as God asks us to step out in faith, we hesitate. We hold on to what we know and look at the raw sewage and think---what if it's not better? I don't know if this new place, or job, or relationship will be better than what I have. We would rather hold on to some resemblance of "life" than take the BETTER life He is offering to us.

I was wrong to look at that woman and think she was crazy to stay. We all do it. We all--at some time or another--choose brokenness instead of newness. We all cling to old habits, old thoughts, old desires, and old relationships---even though we see it could eventually kill us. We all settle for crumbs instead of the feast. We do it because our faith is too small--too small to trust the unknown way.

"The Gate of the Year" by Minnie Haskins 1908

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."