Learn to do Good. Seek Justice. Help the Opressed…

I read this passage today in my quiet time.  I can’t get it out of my mind.  I know that it’s just sitting there waiting to mess me up entirely.  I hope so.  I can’t wait for God to mess me up.  Here’s what it said…

“Wash yourselves and be clean!  Let me no longer see your evil deeds.  Give up your wicked ways. 

Learn to do good.

Seek Justice.

Help the opressed.

Defend the orphan.

Fight for the rights of widows.

Come now, let us argue this out, says the LORD.  No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it.  I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.  If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat.  But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies.  I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Isaiah 1:16-20

Not Good Enough…part 2

I’ve been thinking lately. If God’s going to do what God’s going to do regardless of what we do … does it matter what we do at all? Is our effort, planning, hard work, talent, skill, etc important at all in the scheme of God’s plan? It must be – or He wouldn’t give us the skills, abilities, knowledge to do those things.
I know that God doesn’t need us to accomplish His will – BUT He chooses to use us. In light of that…
I believe we should offer our everything. The very best we have to give. I can’t imagine anyone would disagree with that, but how often do we really live that way?
Like the story in John 12 about the anointing at Bethany. When Mary came with her very best perfume, in a very large bottle and poured it all out on Jesus feet – she was giving him everything she had. Holding nothing back. She didn’t bring whatever was closest to the door (most convenient), the one that was easiest to find or carry, she didn’t pick something off the street to bring to Jesus. She picked the very best, most expensive, most treasured thing she had to offer to her King. She wasn’t concerned with convenience, ease or cost.
She knew it would cost her. I wonder what she was giving up in order to bring that offering to Jesus. I’m guessing it was just as much a sacrifice as an offering. I’m guessing that it probably cost her a meal or two or ten – and it meant that she would be questioned, ridiculed, criticized . I wonder if she was afraid what people would think? I wonder if she was wondering how she would take care of her bills/food/family? I am wondering if she thought about anything else at all – other than the incredible privilege of bringing her very best to the One and Only?

I am reminded of a specific time in my life when I abandoned all in worship of that same One and Only. There was a mission trip I was a part of as a teenager – called Houston 2000. I honestly don’t remember what we did there. I don’t remember what the purpose of the trip was (sad, huh?). I only remember that it is there that Jesus met me where I was and taught me how to worship. Not just in song, but in lifestyle. Not just through music, but through thoughts and intentions and obedience. It was in that place that I understood for the first time what it felt like to abandon everything for the sake of getting just a little closer to the Savior. Usually when we pray or worship we bow our heads or get lower to the ground as a picture of reverence and devotion. That’s a wonderful thing. But that time God brought me to a place where I was standing on my tip-toes reaching up as high as I could desperate to be closer to him. My eyes were wide open and I was looking up to that ugly ceiling and sobbing and singing with everything in me that Jesus was my everything. Oh to go back to that place.

I have experienced many similar moments over these last 10 years – but none like that one. It was my first. Firsts are special. The first time I met Jesus was special – I will never meet Him like that again. The first time I held each of my daughters were special – I will never feel like that again with any of them. The first time I held my husband’s hand and looked into his eyes was special. Even though I love him more now than I ever thought possible – it will never feel like it did that first time.

That moment in Houston, TX I met Jesus in a way that I never have since. It was the moment that I understood that He wants my everything. Not just some of me – but all of me. Not just my best – but my VERY best. Not just 1 day a week, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anything less than that is not good enough. My last post was all about how I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of not-good-enough. I hope that won’t always be the case. I struggle EVERY day – EVERY moment – with trying to remember to give God my everything. My thoughts. My works. My family. My job. My relationships. My obedience. My words. My intentions. My feelings. I know He wants it all. I wonder if in our busy schedules, many responsibilities, and all the things we do FOR God we are missing the simple act of sitting at His feet giving Him everything we have heart and soul?

God deserves my best, expects my best and even demands my very best. Anything short of that is not good enough. I pray that today I will make every effort to serve him instead of others, to love him instead of myself, to focus on him instead of all the ‘things’ I need to get done. And I pray that I will learn to rely on His strength and instruction in order to do all of those things. I pray that my life today will be an act of worship of my One and Only. Anything less than that is simply not good enough.

Not Good Enough

I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of not good enough. How about you? It really gets me down a lot of the time. I feel like no matter how hard I work, or how much I prepare, or how badly I want to give my everything – there is always something that holds me back or drags me down. I feel like the more I know God, the more I know about Him – the more ‘not good enough’ I feel.
I don’t think that it’s such a bad thing to always want to give more, do more, be more for Christ. I actually think it’s a good thing for me to feel that way about myself.
BUT…here’s where it becomes a not-so-good thing. My incredibly high standards that I set for myself (and never feel like I come close to achieving) are starting to color my opinions of others around me. I often expect everyone around me to aim for those impossible standards too, and when they don’t I get really frustrated. I KNOW it’s my own issue – and that I should only worry about myself, but have been really struggling with it lately.

In John 21, Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him and Peter keeps saying yes – and Jesus keeps saying, then feed my sheep..then this happened…

20Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”


It’s interesting that in the middle of the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach Peter – about how to love Him – he gets distracted by someone else around him and wants to know what Jesus wanted to do with him. Jesus says basically that it’s none of his business – and that all that should matter to Peter is what Peter will do. I have been focusing a lot on this passage lately and have been making huge efforts to focus on my service, my job, my responsibilities as a follower of Christ and not worrying about everyone else’s responsibilities. It’s a battle I struggle with almost daily – and I intend to win.

Jesus says to me today…’as for you, Kim…you must follow me.”

What do you know about Jesus?

That’s the question I asked my 2 year old Wednesday night as we were heading home from church. I LOVED her answer. She said…

“Jesus loves God
and God loves Jesus.”

that’s it. I was so excited that she understands (even at 2!!) that God and Jesus are connected. Of course, she then continued on with … “Twinkle, Twinkle loves God and Row, Row Boat loves Jesus…and Mary little lamb loves God and ABEC loves Jesus” My husband looks at me and says, “Now I’m pretty sure there’s some deep spiritual application there if we could just decipher it.” Hilarious stuff.

My favorite part of the car ride home, though, was when my 8 year old asked my 2 year old if she could tell her about Jesus. Syd (the 2 yr old) yells “YES! but Weesa (that’s what she calls her) where’s your bible?”

Ricky and I looked at each other with such tremendous pride in our hearts as we realized how much our little baby already knows about Jesus. She knows that Jesus loves God, God loves Jesus, and that the Bible is the story of Jesus. WOW! We were so proud that our 8 year old was so willing, ready and excited to witness to her little sister. WOW!

If only we were all so willing, ready and excited to share the incredible story of Jesus with those that we love. I love it when God uses my kids to teach me a lesson.

The Heart Factor

I’ve been blogging since May of 2005. Crazy, right? I was reading back through some of the very first blogs I wrote and came across this one…I figured since I have pretty much all new readership (is that a word?) I would re-blog one of my very first blogs…

I have just started reading a book called “The Sacred Romance” by Brent Curtis and John Eldridge and had to share a piece of it with you: “In the end, it doesn’t matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished – a life without heart is not worth living. For out of this wellspring of our soul flowers all true caring and all meaningful work, all real worship and all sacrifice. Our faith, hope, and love issue from this fount, as well. Because it is in our heart that we first hear the voice of God and it is in the heart that we come to know him and learn to live in his love.” It is often interesting to me, although not suprising, that when God is trying to tell me something He will continue to tell it to me in as many ways as possible until I get it. Well, God – message received.
In the beginning of the book I am reading, the author mentions that all of us – no matter our relationship with Christ, are always wanting more. More love, more emotion, more meaning – More Heart. I can definitely relate to the desire for more out of life – as I’m sure you can. I have been overwhelmed with the feeling lately that there is so much more than I am getting. I seek God – but do I seek Him hard enough? I praise God – but do I praise him often enough? I worship God – but do I worship with ALL of my life, or simply with my song? I have to confess that everything I could ever give would never be enough. So, how do I get more? I’m not exactly sure. I suppose that just knowing that there is more will force me to seek harder and praise more often and try to learn how to worship with everything that is me. At least I hope that is the case.

The lack of CHRIST in Christmas

It’s been a WHILE since I last blogged, I know. I have loads of excuses. Lots of life happening lately. But mostly it’s because I haven’t really been in the mood. I’ve been dealing with lots of stuff lately and didn’t want to spill it all on my blog for the world to see. So I just didn’t blog at all. And I don’t really have anything wonderful to say – I just had to get something off my chest (so much for self control, huh?)

Last night we attended Elisa’s school “Holiday” program. It was called “DecemberNights, December Lights”. I think the purpose of the program was more to say – hey, see how pc we are – instead of celebrating any sort of holiday. Throughout the program, they fully explained the holiday of Hannukah and Kwanzaa and one other I don’t remember which. But they NEVER explained Christmas. They never even mentioned Jesus! I found myself crying a couple of times, not because my kid was so cute (which she was), but because this entire “Christmas” program completely ommitted Christ. I kept looking out over the completely packed room of people and found myself so very sad and completely overwhelmed with the “lost”-ness in the room. So many of those people didn’t know Jesus, so many of them couldn’t care less about Him. That makes me so very sad.

Truth is, we won’t have much of a Christmas this year. We aren’t doing gifts at all – not even to our kids. We just can’t afford it this year. And honestly I’m a little sad about that. BUT – I still am so excited about celebrating Christmas. I KNOW it’s not about the gifts. I’m hoping that this Christmas will be even better than any of the others, simply because we’ve been forced to take out all the commercialized junk, and have the opportunity to really focus on the point of it all.

I was able to be a part of our church’s Sharing Christmas ministry this year. We weren’t able to adopt a kid, but I was able to be a part of distributing gifts and food to a family in need. I went with some friends and we delivered to 3 different families (very different, actually). The first family was a very young mother and father and two small kids. When we got there, the 7 year old little girl asked her mom if it was her mom’s birthday b/c she couldn’t understand why else someone would bring gifts to them. The wonderful woman I was with asked the little girl if she knew that we were celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Both kids looked at us with blank stares. I honestly believe they may never have heard Jesus’ name before. Take a minute and take that in. Never heard the name of Jesus!! As we were leaving, my friend asked if we could pray for the family and the mom reluctantly said sure. As we were praying, the 5 year old little boy came up to his mom and asked her, “Mom, what are they doing?”. He had never seen someone pray before!!

As we drove home, I began to cry. Here I am, sad about the fact that my family can’t participate in all the gift giving. BUT, this family is missing out SO much more than we are. This young family has food and presents – but they don’t have hope or peace. I found myself praying that the little boy would continue to ask questions, until someone would be able to answer them.

I am overwhelmed this year with the lack of Christ in Christmas! I can’t seem to get into the “spirit” of Christmas this year. I am finding myself sad instead of joyful. I can’t seem to shake it. There are SO many people all around me without hope and that makes me SO very sad. I am praying that God will use my discontent to move me to action. I pray that He gives me opportunities to share the hope that He has given to me. I pray that my eyes are opened even more to the desperate and hopeless all around me – and that God would use me to splash some joy or hope onto them in some way.

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.”

I Surrender All

I read something tonight in “My Utmost for His Highest” that I loved how it was written. Oswald Chambers has such a way with words! Here’s the part I loved the most of all:

“If I obey Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.”

My pastor talked this morning (we’re learning about Jonah) about how our obedience (or rather lack of) not only affects us, but also those around us. I am humbled by the idea that my life is such a small part of the big picture. My sister has been saying recently that my life is just a tiny part on a canvas that is bigger than I can see or imagine (I’m pretty sure I quoted that wrong – but you get the idea).

I’m overwhelmed today with how small I am and how large He is. But yet also how important it is that I live daily and in every circumstance in complete surrender and in total obedience to Him.