Experiencing His Presence

Raindrops_in_a_Puddle_AbstractThis morning I was sitting here at my computer with my head turned towards the nearby window. I was sitting and staring and the rain cascading down outside. This was more than our typical mist-type rain. It was really coming down pretty hard.

All of a sudden urge to go outside and stand in the rain. . .  and so I said, “Ok Lord,”. . . and I did. Bare feet and all I waltzed outside and tiled my head back opened my hands and just stood there in the rain. I began to feel every single drop hitting my face and arms and something about it was so beautiful, it almost felt magical. I was thoroughly enjoying it.

I stood there for what seemed about five minutes till I was completely wet and chilled enough that I thought I’d better retreat back inside. Call me crazy or what, but I thought that was a bit odd for someone who typically doesn’t like being wet and especially doesn’t like the feeling of clingy wet clothing.

As I sat here afterward I was thinking what was that all about, a thought came to my mind of something I had prayed earlier this morning. I prayed to feel a touch from God and I believe the rainfall was an answer to that prayer.

So often I look for God in the big things but he wanted me to know that he’s there in the everyday things. I often feel God presence when I stare at the ocean, watch a beautiful sunset, or look in the eyes of a newborn baby, but I must confess that sometimes fail to see him in the ordinary everyday events of life.

This reminds me of the truth that the more we start to look for God, the more we start to see Him everywhere and in everything. Sometimes I forget this, and need a reminder. I am so thankful for a God who answers prayers and see’s to it that he always gives us just what we need. I had to laugh because we as humans can tend to be super forgetful (some especially more than others, and especially me, teehee).

I also am reminded that in order to experience God, we sometimes have to enter into our surroundings and be willing to let ourselves get wet. God is there in the common as well as the uncommon. Often times when we step out in faith we strongly feel his presence with us, but I think he wants to remind us that he’s in the everyday experiences as well, walking through life with us.

I am reminded of the verse found in 2 Chronicles 16:9 which reads: “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” God wants us continually looking to him so that he can show himself strong in us and in the everyday things of life. Thank you Lord for a reminder of this truth.

As we are in the midst of this Christmas season, I am reminded of the greatest gift God gave mankind. He sent his one and only son for us, our Immanuel (meaning God with us Matt. 1:23). God help us be mindful that you are always with us, that you never leave or forsake us and that you take great delight in us. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sin. Give us eyes to see you in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary! Help us to live lives worthy of the hope you have placed within us! Thank you for who you are and for all have done and for your continual and faithful expressions of love towards us! To you be the glory both now and forever! AMEN



Making Room

manger-crossWe are amidst one of the busiest seasons of the year and everyone’s keeps asking the same question, “Are you ready for Christmas?” My honest answer, no. Why, I’ve barely started my shopping and my decorating is only half done AND there’s still programs to attend and parties to be had.

If we are not careful, the business of it all can often times leaves us feeling quite wearied. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of these things in and of themselves, they are fun and festive. But sometimes the very things which are meant to put us in the mood for Christmas, are often the same things that can rob us of the joyous reason we celebrate it.

So how do we make room for all of these things without losing our joy? How do we hold tight to the true meaning of Christmas? The answer can be found in the story of Jesus’ birth in the book of Luke. Caesar Augustus made a decree to the Roman Empire that all people return to their hometown for a census. So Joseph traveled with Mary, his fiance’ who was VERY pregnant and about to give birth, to the town of Bethlehem, to register for the census.

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:6-7

I’m always in awe of God’s amazing love for us. Love came down. He left his place of glory to come down to earth. He put on human skin so that we could know him and relate to Him. He was fully God and yet fully human. He came to show us the way. . . and to ultimately accomplish His father’s will by dying for our sins.

And yet as the story goes, they were looking for a place to stay, a place for Mary to give birth, and there was NO ROOM for them in the inn. No room for the Savior of the world to be born! Preparing our hearts for the coming of Christmas requires making room for Him. The question is, “Do we make room for Jesus in the inn of our lives?” “Do we daily make room for his presence?”

The author and the creator of your life wants to be in your life. Not just a small corner of your life, He want’s to be your life. He doesn’t just want us to know of Him, but he wants to make himself known to us. He did this by coming to the earth in human form. He put on flesh and was born as a baby just so that we may know Him. He was born in a stable, dark and dirty, not quite the Christmas Card portrait of his birthing place. And in the same way He comes to us in our sin infested lives so that we may be born anew in him.

Hope for humanity was born on Christmas day! The glorious birth of the Savior of the world who took on our sinfulness so that we could have a right relationship with Him. God longs for relationship with us. Is there a place in your heart for Him? Are you making room? Christmas is about inviting him in.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Father God, thank you that love came down at Christmas! Thank you for sending Jesus to us and for us. To live for us and to ultimately die for us, so that we didn’t have to. Thank you for the relationship we can have with you because of what Jesus did for us. Thank you for this gift . . . help us to make proper room for You.

Come . . .

lighthouse3In response to a Facebook challenge, this morning I took a walk out on the break wall to snap a few photos of our local Battery Point lighthouse. My challenge was to post a black and white photo onto my Facebook page for the next five days in a row. I really love taking pictures, so I thought this would definitely be a fun challenge to participate in.

The vivid colors of grey-blue sky contrasting the red-toned roof of the lighthouse would make for quite the beautiful photo, but then again, the challenge was for black and white photos. To me, the thought of removing all the color from the scene would make the shot seem lifeless and dull. So I patiently waited and watched the lens to light up so I could quickly snap a photo while the light on top of the lighthouse was shining brightly.

As I stood there in front of the lighthouse, the following scripture came to mind:  “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 I thought about the boats out on the water and how that very light was a guide to many a mariner out on the ocean. A guide that would lead his boat safely back to the harbor.

I have never been out on the ocean in a boat, but as a child my dad owned a small cruiser boat and we would occasionally take out on Lake Michigan for a little recreational fun and fishing. A time or two on our boating excursions, my dad drove out pretty far on the lake and eventually the shore was longer visible from the boat. As I child, I remember that being quite an eerie feeling to be surrounded by nothing but water.

This reminded me that just as the lighthouse is a guide for the mariner, Jesus Christ is the guide for our lives. The one who created life is the light and is also the one who knows best how to guide the vessel in the open waters and how to bring it safely to shore. When we follow the light we have no need to fear because we can trust in the one who is leading.

As I stood there on the break wall listening to the crashing waves interwoven with the blaring sound of the foghorn, it was very peaceful and yet powerful, serene and yet persistent in its nature. In the same way that the light becomes no longer visable in the fog or storm, the mariner then listens for the foghorn. As I stood and listened to the horn, it was as if it was a beckoning call. . .Come . . . this is The Way. In the same way God invites us all to come to him. Come follow me . . . (Matt. 4:19). His word proclaims that “He is the way, the truth and the life (John 16:6).

God didn’t create us to leave us in the dark or to be tossed back and forth by ceaseless waves of life, but gives us the light of his Word as a guide for living. The Bible is Gods voice, His love letter to us and it is a guide for knowing Him and navigating life. God’s voice echos on the pages of scripture, I love you, I want you. . . Come . . . “come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28) . . . Let me guide you safely home.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world . . .He came to the earth in human form, a precious baby, born of a virgin (Luke 1:27).

that he gave his only begotten son . . . His purpose for coming was for you . . . and me (John 10:10). He came to do his father’s will (John 5:43), to pay the price we couldn’t pay with the only sacrifice that would do (Romans 8:3), the innocent blood of his one and only son.

That whosoever believe in Him should not perish . . .He did come to rule from a throne but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). We have a choice either to accept or to reject him.

But have everlasting life” . . . He defeated death and rose on the third day as the scriptures foretold (1 Cor. 15:4). When we choose to follow him, we pass from death to life, old things have passed away and all things become new (2 Cor. 5:17). Our new reality becomes eternity with God our creator (John 3:16).

Father God thank you for your amazing love for us. Thank you for sending your son Jesus to pay the price for our sin. Thank for your Living Word which gives light to our path. Guide and direct our steps as we seek to follow you. Thank you Sweet Jesus for who you are and all you do. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1-5