Monday, July 27, 2009

Better Than Full Inboxes and Mailboxes!

"Come, all you who are thirsty....Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live." Isaiah 55:1-3a (NIV)

Melea loves to check the mail at our house. You should see her face light up when she opens it to find something addressed to her! She skips and smiles all the way to the house...even if it's just a bank statement on her savings account! If she doesn't get a letter of her own, often she will ask if she can open one of mine or her Daddy's. When there's one addressed to the family, she immediately claims it.

I love to receive a letter or card in the mail too, but that's just not as likely these days, as we've moved on to more "instant gratification" through email. (Hmmm... an interesting sidenote...We spent a good part of our relaxing weekend watching hours of Little House on the Prairie. It speaks volumes for our generation that we call it "snail mail" if it takes a couple of days for a letter to get from one place to another. That's kind of sad.)

I enjoy getting email too...and you can check it multiple times a day, unlike the mailbox on our street. Just like Melea, I get that "awwww" feeling when there's nothing one out there thinking of me...or needing to say something through cyberspace. Empty inboxes can be sad.

You know, it's just like I told Melea about getting mail. To get mail, you have to write mail. You have to make the effort.

Of course, I heard God's voice whispering in my ear, "You know, I've written you a letter...a long letter of my love for you. You can open it anytime you want...without the mailbox delivery time or waiting for an email to travel across the cyberwaves. And it will speak new and fresh words to fulfill your longings. Are you making the effort to reach out to me?"

Desiring to be obedient...and "check His mail", I picked up Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. Because the bookmark was there, Saturday's devotion caught my eye. The Scripture passage for the day was from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3-10. I turned there in my tattered and marked Women's Devotional Bible. I had a star by verse 6, "Blessed (and that word was underlined) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." God led me from that to the verse in the Isaiah 55 passage, where we are told, (and I love this in The Message translation) "Hey there! All you who are thirsty, come to the water!...Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words."

You know, sometimes I can get a little legalistic about going to His Word before I open my emails...and I hope I'll become even more so. With Him, my "inbox" is always full...with His words and love that really satisfy...and never even a hint of junkmail!

And after I've spent time reading His Word, then of course, I'll always enjoy a letter or an email from a friend...those, too, are gifts from God! He's so good!

Dear God, the lover of my soul, thank You for Your Word to me. Thank You for life-giving, life-nourishing words that truly satisfy. Thank You for Your love and covenant for a thousand generations. You are great and greatly to be praised! Help us to remember to go to You first (Matt. 6:33) and be filled up to overflowing with You!

Monday, July 13, 2009


"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 1:14 (NIV)

I guess the title of this post is a result of the inundation of the reminiscences of the hits of Michael Jackson over the last couple of weeks. Although, if my memory serves me correctly, in the song "BAD", I think that bad was supposed to be good. (And I apologize if now that song is clunking around in your brain...especially when my point is spiritual, and about bad that is really bad...not good.)

Twice in the last week, I've seen Melea head to the disposal and toss something in while she was eating her Froot Loop breakfast. I had to ask, "What are you throwing in there?" She said, "There was a bad Froot Loop." Hmmmm. I wonder just what constitutes a bad Froot Loop. (Well, in my opinion, they smell and taste like Lemon Pledge to me...but that's not the point.)

The Froot Loop incident took me back to our beach trip a few weeks ago. We were having some amazing fortune in finding great shells. (Wow! What a testimony to the intricacies of God's creation! I still am awed just thinking about it!) We would find the most minute conch very tiny, yet the patterns and swirls so finely detailed...fashioned by His hands. As we searched
through the mixture of shells and shell pieces washed up on the shore, I would often pick up a shell and give it to Melea. If it had the slightest flaw, she would disregard it and throw it back into the debris. It struck me as a little sad...something of great beauty, yet bearing a sign of imperfection...just tossed away.

I couldn't help but turn those thoughts inward...and look at myself...with all my flaws...with all my sin...and just be brought to tears at the reality of God's amazing grace. I'm so thankful that He has never turned His back on me...given up on me...or tossed me away because of my sin. I'm amazed at the height and depth of His unconditional, unending, unfailing love and the price He paid for me.

I've been listening to the CD "It Must Be Grace" and the first verse and chorus of the title track (written by Brian White, Chris Eaton and Don Poythress) feel as they could be my own words.

How could one, one such as You, be longing for me?
What would I have to give that you'd ever need?
Why? No matter how far I've run, do You pursue me?
Why? When I fall time after time, do You still love me?
What could make You love me?

I don't understand. What is it You see in the heart of someone like me?
When I let You down, but You still believe...
and prove Your love time and again...and again.
All I can say is it must be grace.

Oh, how He loves me. Oh, how He loves you. What a wonder...a gift...a privilege that "by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace!" (2 Timothy 1:9) Oh...He is Good!

Thank you, Father, for Your grace...for Your willingness to die and suffer in my place. Thank you that You hold the future in Your hands. Thank You for the plan that You have...even for me. Thank You for the grace that You "lavished on us", for the "hope in Christ," and that we "might be [used] for the praise of [Your] glory"! Enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may know the hope to which You have called us, the glorious inheritance, and the "incomparably great power for us who believe!" (Ephesians 1)