Friday, December 14, 2012

God Is In the Schools

My heart is just as broken as everyone else's over the tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut. However, I must address the charge from everyone that this is what happens when we take God out of the schools.

Fellow believers in Christ, I am talking to you.

We are the church.

We are the body of Christ.

 Bibles are allowed in school.

Praying at school is allowed if it is student led.

Faith based clubs are allowed to organize in public schools.

We can point fingers and hoot and holler that none of this would have happened if we didn't take God out of schools. As long as we keep showing up, God is in the school. And as long as God is sovereign, which, as far as I know,  has not changed, this still would have happened. He is not asleep at the wheel or standing on the front steps waiting to be buzzed in.

Nothing limits His ability to be present any place.Not school boards or government legislation.  I am 100% sure that God was in the midst of that tragedy, doing what He does. Bringing peace to the afflicted. Comforting those who mourn. Welcoming the least of these to the place we all long to be. And, hurting for the lost young man who did this.

Drawing lines in the sand and circling our Christian wagons, if you will pardon the overuse of metaphor, will not help anything. If we all huddle together, the only thing the world sees is our butts. This is the time to let our lights shine; the world needs hope in the face of such an unspeakable tragedy.

Now, when hearts are tender, is the time to point others toward the hope of Christ. No one can answer why God allowed such a horrid thing, but we can say with confidence that He is our Help and our Deliverer in times of trouble. He will somehow, even from this, create beauty from ashes. This is not a Christian do-gooder platitude. This is His promise to us.

This is also the time to remain firm and strong in your own faith. Do not fall into despair with the rest of the world. Do not mourn as unbelievers. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4-8-9). We need to remember that God is the Redeemer of all things.

I will continue to sing and praise my God because He alone is completely unmovable .He is our shelter and our strong tower, our ever present help in time of need. Believing this doesn't diminish the scope of this tragedy, but it does help me look toward a better day. He will lead us out of this darkness.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giving Jesus

Every year I say I want to scale back Christmas. Not like celebrate less, but celebrate more for the right reasons. Then, just like the rest of the world, I get caught up in the western traditions of Christmas: the decorating, the shopping, the cooking...the wild frenzy of celebrating Jesus that really doesn't have much to do with Him at all.

I know the story of the Christmas tree; we light it up to show He is the Light of the World.

I know why we buy gifts: to mirror the generosity God has shown us through His gift of Jesus.

I know why I cook special recipes and bake cookies...because I like them. Ha!

Seriously, I get that many of our traditions are representative of the Nativity Story. But does anyone else feel like the Reason for the Season get swallowed up by the season itself?

I've had the privilege of sharing my story a few times lately and each time, I am humbled by the grace He has poured into my life. Just for one year, I would love to celebrate Christmas without gifts, decorations, and foods that make my pants tight anyway, and really reflect on the majesty of all He has done.

I pray that during this hallowed season, you find time to reflect on Who Jesus is to you, and communicate that to someone else. It might be the best gift you could ever give.

If you've stopped by after meeting me at iMoms this week, welcome! Check around some of my posts and if what you read resonates with you, consider subscribing by email. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fire Starter

This is a picture of a magnifying glass.

All together now...duh. A magnifying glass is a useful tool. I used one to see the expiration dates on all the Box Tops For Education our school collected. Came in quite handy.

Tonight at church, though, singing My Soul Magnifies the Lord by Chris Tomlin, this is the picture that came into my head:

 On its own, a magnifying glass is just good for making things bigger. Let the sun shine through it, and things catch fire.

On my own, I'm just a magnifying glass. Kinda useful, I suppose, but nothing special. But to truly set the world on fire, I need the power of God shining through me. Tonight I realized that I have been trying to make a fire without God.

It's exhausting.

I forgot about grace. Instead of remembering who God is, I've been reminding myself who I'm not. I tell myself what I haven't been doing right lately. I've been feeling like it's up to me to get the fire started.

I've hit the back space so many times during this post because I just can't get the words right, but again, God can use my flawed attempt to share my heart with you to accomplish what He needs to. I'm the only one who thinks it's all up to me.

If you've found yourself overwhelmed and in this place lately, remember that we are only the magnifying glasses. Leave room for God to make the fire.