My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


While reading in John 1 this morning, I felt the Lord quicken my heart over verse 4:

In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

In particular, I felt the Holy Spirit settling over the words "life" and "light." Strong's concordance says life here (zoe) means, "of the absolute fullness of life; life real and genuine; a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, and blessed." This is a different kind of life than the one used in Mark 3:4--"psyche"--which refers more to the mortal life of all things, the process that distinguishes between an elephant and a boulder.

We can be alive without being alive. Anyone whose eyes have flitted open on a gray November morning and half-prayed to a corner of the ceiling, "God, I can't face another day" without expecting an answer knows this. It manifests in weak knees and thumping hearts when we've felt too heartsick to eat for a few days. It shows up when we avoid our friends for our televisions and fitfully daydream about inventing a switch hard-wired into our brains that would turn off all thoughts so we could force ourselves to sleep. It surfaces in a heavy, drugged feeling when we cannot seem to differentiate between dreams and reality.

Simply functioning from one day to another is not the life that is God. Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the way, truth, and the life (zoe)--full, vigorous, beautiful life that transcends mere existence.

The word used for light (phos) in John 1:4 has many translations, but the one that I liked best was, "that which is exposed to the view of all, openly, publicly." The beauty of Jesus' life was for
all to see. He did not hide His freedom with the Father; nor did He share it with only a select group. The people who walked in darkness saw a great light.

In His kindness, God was not content for us to live a life bound to striving. He came that we might have zoe and have it fully. He came that we might have Himself. Today is the Jewish feast of Passover, and tomorrow marks the anniversary of Jesus' death (He died on Wednesday, was in the ground three days, and rose again on the first day of the week). Only God could bring life out of death and use sacrifice to bring fullness for all. The life He gave transcends momentary emotions. There will always be heartaches, seasons in the valley, flights into the desert; but
they are temporary. God glories in restoration, and when He comes to you, He brings with Him fullness of joy.

Father, I bless my friends to delight in Your fullness. You promised we would win if we did not lose heart. May we walk according to Hebrews 10:35-37 and Galatians 6:9, never giving up, never losing faith. May we have eyes opened to the "small" miracles that take place every day. May we never mistake the purpose of prayer as the right to tell You what to do. You are sovereign and Your ways are right. Give us the grace today to say, "not my will but Yours,"
hands that rush to give, mouths opened wide to sing Your praises, and hearts that embrace love and reject offense. In Jesus' beautiful name....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

the way of truth

Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. ~Psalm 86:11

What is Your way, God? What does it mean to walk in Your truth?

Truly, Your way has always been first to be and then to do. First, be holy (even as You are holy) and then do the things that mark a holy life. First, love You fiercely and proactively, and then take care of other people as an overflow of love. First experience freedom that is the reality of life with Christ, and then bring life wherever we go. Your ways are truth because You are the way, truth and the life. Jesus, we come to Your Father through the way You prepared, and we lay down our lives to prepare the way before You to touch the world.

In all of this, however, we are incapable of living lives that are singled in on You in ourselves. My heart is deceitful and it pulls and yearns for things that You know would only harm me. I do not do what I want to do, and I do what I do not want to do. Paul understood.

I'm asking You for grace again--grace to zero in and focus on Your beauty. I can only give You the reverence You deserve if You give me that singleness of purpose. I lay out all of my conflicting desires before You and proclaim the sovereignty of Jesus over them. Let me love You even more than I have until this point. I've only broken the surface of a vast ocean, and Your depths are calling out to me.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I've spent hours staring at a brick wall. Sometimes days....even years. The lesson God began teaching me over a year ago continues to come back around--the quiet voice that answers, "here I am" in the middle of so much noise and confusion still echoes in my heart when I expect it least.

I was reading in Psalm 46 this morning and God began opening my heart to the truth of verses 1 and 2 again. They've been some of my favorite verses ever since GT and the Halo Express helped me memorize them over a decade ago by putting them to music on a cassette tape geared toward children learning to face their fear. How like Him to speak yet again through something that has become so familiar, right?

I've started a log where I scribble down the verses that stand out to me when I'm reading the Word. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead me through a particular theme in what seems to be a random trek in the Word. The words that stuck out to me in Psalm 46:2 were "be removed":

"1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the
sea;" ~Psalm 46:1-2 (my emphasis added)

I went back to the original Hebrew and found that this word is "muwr" which literally translates "to change, exchange, alter." So often I thought the psalmist was speaking of the obliteration of the world, when, in reality, he was speaking of the transient nature of circumstances.

The earth will one day be purged with fire before God descends to establish His heavenly city on the earth and dwell with us, but this is an exchange (His glory for our "reality"), not a termination of the world. What this reiterates, then, is the temporal nature of what seems so concrete to us. Stone walls and circumstances--they are flimsy in comparison to God, our refuge and strength.

Psalm 46:1 says that God is a very present--m@'od matsa'--help when we are distressed. M@'od means: exceedingly, much, might, force, and abundant. Matsa' means: to be found, to be encountered. What does this mean? Simply that, in contrast to our transient circumstances, our God is unchanging and steady, and in our distress, He is waiting to be found and encountered with might and abundance. His Presence is there for us to experience when things are going well, but He shows up excessively when His children are distressed.

I'm learning that the times I feel Him the least are the times He's most present and most active. I've come full-circle in life, and already have shed almost as many tears of gratitude and joy as I did of desolation. When we seek Him, He becomes our exceeding great reward, and the delight when we "find" Him far outweighs the grief of the journey.

Press on, friends. He's worth it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

modern-day psalm

Your Spirit hovers over the sea of humanity, eyes probing hearts and searching spirits. Do You see me? I'm waving frantically with the banner of love that You gave me. I want to draw Your eyes, even when they burn me alive.

Noah released a dove from the ark and it returned to him because there was no place for it to rest. You sent for the dove of Your Spirit and it settled on Your Son. I want to be Your resting place.

I don't want to be the one You love simply because that's Your nature; I want to be the one You know, who establishes relationship, who walks in intimacy. Heaven is Your throne, the earth is Your footstool--but Your habitation is in me.

Day by day, hour by hour, You lead me through the valley, up the mountain and back down again. Your rod and Your staff are the marks of Your authority--the scepter of the Shepherd. The rod of iron with which You judge the nations of the earth brings me joy and comfort.

Your discipline has made me glad. I am Somebody's daughter. Mercy and goodness are chasing me down. Your gentle love crowns my head, the brilliant diadem of Your family crest. Your humility has exalted me even as my life is forfeit, laid down before You.

My King is my Father. My Judge is my Shepherd. My sacrificial Lamb is the prevailing Lion. His Word is my bread, my life, my light, and my salvation. He is the Door, the Bread that came from Heaven, the Way where there is no other way, the Son of God, the One who was dead and is alive again forever.

May my soul sing out in the night in my sleep. May my mind realize that every breath not spent in praise is wasted. May my heart never swerve from its allegiance to one purpose. May my mouth choose gratitude over complaint. May my eyes keep covenant with my morals; my feet rush to promote peace; my hands remain open to give to those in need; my face turn always toward the Son; my ears ignore gossip that is none of my business; my nose delight in the fragrance of I AM; and may the stamp of the Most High mark my life.

May I be found loving with heart, soul, mind, and strength, even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.

I have delighted in the goodness of the Lord. I have seen the provision of His hand. His love will overcome every distraction--every broken place in the darkness of my flesh. Crucified with Christ, buried in baptism, and now alive to know Him in the power of His resurrection.

Oh what a delight to live in the shadow of His wings.