Friday, May 25, 2012


... is a virtue.
Virtue is a grace.
Grace is a little girl
who wouldn't wash her face. 

That's the rhyme I always used to think of when someone said "patience!"...

I thought that patience was a good thing, you know. Helpful for waiting to go to the park or for waiting until you were old enough to sit in the passenger side of the car. Things like that.

Now I think of this when I think of patience:

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:10

I'm realizing that patience is actually a great deal more important than I thought it was...  It isn't just nice for earthly things like waiting for the results of a test--it is necessary to obtain the promises.

 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

Let patience have its perfect work--that you may be perfect and complete!  Oy... did you realize that before? Did you ever stop to think that it was patience that works in us to make us perfect and complete?

Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. 2 Thess. 3:5

"Into the patience of Christ". Christ was patient. We are to be like Christ. < insert a 'duh' here >

 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:10-11

Patience... isn't optional. It isn't just a handy thing to have. It is something we should be actively striving for.

It's... something God's been pounding into me, and-- by His grace--something I am growing in.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Flowers and God

I've been thinking about flowers.

Yep, flowers. I like flowers. A lot.

I've also been thinking about God.

"Like" is not at all adequate to describe how I feel about Him... 

Flowers are beautiful... but more than that, they teach me about our God.

A God who cares about tiny details...

A God who loves beauty... who is beautiful Himself...

A God who is incredibly creative...

A God who blesses us...

A God who loves us and rejoices over us...

A God who brings life from death...

sunflower, gator, garden 015
A God who is the light we can always turn to in our darkness...

This God, I love.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross...

... I learn.

I learn about sin and the horrors thereof. I learn that my sin is that bad. So terrible that it required His LIFE. You know how people say if you were the only one in the world Jesus would have died for you? Sounds nice--until you realize that your sin is SO horrible that He would have still needed to endure all of that for just your sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I learn about real love. I learn that love is totally, almost horrifically, unselfish. That the opposite of love is not hate, it is selfishness. Because God hates. He hates sin. And if He is love, then the opposite of hate must not be love. It's impossible. And when you think about what love is... it becomes very plain.

Love. . . does not parade itself, is not puffed up; . . . does not seek its own, . . .1 Corinthians 13

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 John 4:10

I learn about humility. I learn that God--Creator of the universe, the King of kings, the One who was and is and is to come--humbled Himself. How much more, then, should I--a sinful creation--be willing to be humbled.

 ...but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8-9 

I learn about forgiveness. If He can forgive us--the ones who called for His death, the ones who did it, the ones who... made it necessary in the first place... if He can forgive me, surely I can forgive my siblings and my parents [Insert my younger brother coming over and begging me repeatedly to play a game and getting in my face. Yes, God has sense of humor.] and friends when they do silly little things that annoy me or hurt me a little.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

I learn about sacrifice. About giving up good things--Jesus' position in heaven certainly was a good thing!--for the greater Good. Namely, God's glory.

This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. . . . John 21:19

I learn about obedience. About submission. About wholly giving yourself to God's plan and will.

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” John 12:49-50 

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. John 5:30

I learn about... dying. I learn about how what seems like The End--what seems like a horrible tragedy--what seems like defeat--can end up being the greatest triumph. 

I learn about God's "weakness". I learn that He is so strong, that even in the weakest possible looking way--as a human, suffering a criminal's death, at the mercy of sinners, naked, bleeding--dead--He can conquer sin and death and Satan.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25

I learn about how different God's ways are from ours. We wouldn't have done it like that!! Just face it. We would've had Jesus calling down all those angels and obliterating His enemies. Oh, but how wrong we would have been... 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

. . .and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Matthew 27:40

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” Matthew 26:52-54

I learn about... God. I learn about who He is. His love. His mercy. His compassion. His justice. His plans. His glory. His power. His beauty. Who He is. 

Oh, the things I learn when I survey that wondrous cross!