Meeting a Problem Head-On

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’” John 18:4 NIV

With Easter still fresh on our minds today, let’s take a look at one of the lessons we can learn from the age-old story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Many insights and truths can be drawn from this dramatic real-life event, but let’s focus today on how Jesus handled a problem that came looking for him on that dark night before his crucifixion.

When confronted with the most dreaded and excruciating hours of his life, what did Jesus do? He met the ordeal head-on. Scripture tells us that while Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane—after eating his last Passover meal with his disciples and after spending time in agonizing prayer—some soldiers and religious officials led by Judas came looking for him.

Since Jesus knew all that was about to happen, he could have handled the situation in a number of ways. As soon as the threat was spotted, he could have run for his life and told his disciples to do the same. Or he could have had the disciples stay and cause a delay while he made his getaway. Or since it was nighttime, he might have even told everyone to hide.

But Jesus didn’t do any of those things. Instead, he summoned his courage and went out to meet the threat. He told them he was the one they were looking for. Then he tried to protect his disciples by asking that they be let go. When one of the disciples drew his sword and began to put up a fight, Jesus stopped him and said, “‘Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” (v. 11) Yes, he was ready to meet the life and death challenge head-on.

How was he able to do this? Love for us. His desire to pay the price for our sins and offer us eternal life instead. Also love for his Father and his commitment to do the Father’s will. And I’m sure he gained strength from the Father during his Garden of Gethsemane prayer time. We’re told in the scriptures that an angel even came and strengthened him there (Luke 22:43.) All of these things combined helped Jesus face his moment of truth.

Are any of us faced with an overwhelming situation? Let’s take strength from the example of Jesus and from the strength God so willingly gives and then go out and meet the challenge head-on. Let’s drink the cup the Father has given us. Let’s bring glory to his name.

“‘The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God and I will exalt him.’” Exodus 15:2

*When has God given you strength to face a dreaded ordeal?

The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by TimOve, Creative Commons License

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is the secret of success in every sphere of life . . .” Hugh Black

Yes, Mother of the Bride, as in other areas of life, attention to detail when planning a wedding makes all the difference. If you want to bless your daughter and the love of her life with a wedding celebration filled with joy, beauty, fun, and ultimately great memories, give attention to all the details.

Whether it’s making sure everyone knows their assignments on Wedding Day or ensuring  that each centerpiece is centered and setting level on the tables, the details all work together to provide a beautiful setting and to keep things running smoothly throughout the entire event.

Nothing is too small or insignificant for your attention. If you give attention to detail, it shows. If you don’t give it, that shows as well. Why not give your family and friends an experience that leaves them saying Wasn’t that a wonderful wedding? Wasn’t that a great party?

After Kristin and Shawn’s wedding, I actually received a note from one of her bridesmaids telling me how much she enjoyed the wedding weekend and how the attention to detail made everything perfect. A few months after Kelli and Jake’s wedding and after they had attended a friend’s wedding where apparently haphazard best summed it up, Jake thanked me for everything I did to make their wedding a smooth-sailing and beautiful event. What was the key? Attention to detail.

Go above and beyond, Mother of the Bride. Give attention to detail.

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride, You Are Appreciated and Mother of the Bride – Needed and Loved.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photo by Chris Humphrey

God Delights in You and Me

8894717141_7c321496d6_z“He will take great delight in you; in his love he will . . . rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17 NIV

Isn’t it amazing to think that God love us so much he delights in us? In fact, as the verse above points out, he actually rejoices over us with singing. Now that’s some kind of love, isn’t it?

Over the years I’ve had trouble comprehending how deep God’s love for me is and how he does indeed delight in me, but I read one example recently that has helped me better understand God’s great love.

In the Bible study Living in God’s Will, author Janice Mayo Mathers told how she delights in her little granddaughter. She then pointed out that God delights in us even more. As she described how she delights in everything from her precious granddaughter’s personality to her smiles to her eyelashes, this was something I could understand. Finally, a way that helped me truly feel God’s love and, yes, his delight.

Thinking of how deeply I love and delight in my own sweet grandsons, I can now understand how God delights in me. I’m in awe when I think of how his eyes must light up when he sees me smile or how his heart warms as he watches me love on all my grandbabies. When he hears me call his name, his heart must leap for joy, and when he sees me lift my tear-stained face toward him, how he must delight in my faith during heartbreak. How, in his great love, he must long to hold me and comfort me.

 Yes, God delights in me—and in you. Yes, he loves us more than we can comprehend. Join me, won’t you, in learning to trust and rest and bask in that love each and every day.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

*How has God shown his great love for you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out in early February. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mugenai, Creative Commons License

Love Is Large

7188915268_2eed6d006c_zFriends, on this day of love, let’s think for a moment about the largeness of love.

When we truly love others or others truly love us, there’s nothing small about it, is there? Even when the gesture may be small by the world’s standards, the way it makes the recipient feel magnifies the smallest gesture into a grand gift. Yes, love feels big. Love is large.

Joni Eareckson Tada, contemporary artist, author, and speaker, sums it up perfectly:

“Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay, the time it is willing to give, the hardships it is willing to endure, and the strength it is willing to spend. Love never thinks in terms of ‘how little,’ but always in terms of ‘how much.’ Love gives, love knows, and love lasts.”

What do you say—are you ready to go out there now and love? Let’s do it. With Jesus as our ultimate example of large love, let’s get out there and be extravagant. Let’s love!

“‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’” John 13:34 NIV

*When has someone been extravagant in their love for you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter which includes a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out in early February. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Venkataramesh.Kommoju, Creative Commons License

An Overflowing Heart for Thanksgiving

3339606759_265dc7c515Aren’t you thankful for a month when we can celebrate thankfulness? A month when all across our vast nation we each remember the blessings we have and offer God thanks for them?

The details of our thanks may vary from year to year, but the underlying truth remains the same—the countless gifts God gives fill our hearts with thanks and praise.

 I originally shared the poem “Overflowing Heart” on my blog in November 2007 (the first Thanksgiving after I started blogging), but it’s filled with even more truth and meaning for me today as God has continued to pour blessings into my life. Yes, today my heart overflows even more.

May my “Overflowing Heart” give rise to your own this holiday season. And may God continue to bless you all richly, my friends!

Overflowing Heart

On this Thanksgiving Day
My heart is overflowing,
The blessings in my life, dear Lord,
Just seem to keep on growing.

How can I ever thank you,
Where can I begin,
To show my appreciation
For the forgiveness of my sin?

Apart from you I am nothing,
No glory is my own,
From your hand comes all I have,
Your goodness I’ve always known.

My health, my home, my family,
You’ve given me by grace,
Help me, Lord, to give them back
To serve you in life’s race.

Oh God of all the universe,
I will ever sing your praise,
I will forever thank you,
I will honor you all of my days!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life . . .” Psalm 23:5-6a NIV

*What blessings are you especially thankful for today?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out early this month. It’s not too late to receive it. I feature a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free on the right sidebar!

*I won’t be posting during the holiday week next week. See you back here on the 29th!

*Flickr photo by Sangre-La.com, Creative Commons License