Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and lots of love from South Dallas!

May this Advent and Christmas Season be a time where you enjoy all things that point back to the return of our King, Christ Jesus!

Merry Christmas

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Waiting on God….and other things.

These past couple of months have really brought me to a place of realization for the need of refocus as it relates to my wait for God’s return. My heart doesn’t long for Jesus alone like it used to.  It is crazy how deep my depravity runs, even after the powerful and lasting saving work of Jesus Christ. Not to mention, the earthly blessings and joy that have been given to me.
 
I was praying this morning and went to read the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25.  As I was reading the story I could just see these girls waiting for the bridegroom to come. Knowing the Jewish customs, they had been planning and prepping for a while at this point.  I can feel their angst and excitement all wrapped up into one.  And then, the announcement the bridegroom is on his way! I am sure there were a few hot messes running around full of excitement:)  But, five of the women ran out of oil so they had to run to the market to get more.  What a shame because in the meantime the bridegroom came and escorted the women with burning lamps to the marriage feast. Can’t you just see it? The most amazing feast you have been to- great music, amazing food, wine to die for. The event you had been planning for months. All your friends and family in one place. This bridegroom and this event is the fulfillment of the one thing you were made for. You had been waiting for this moment your entire life.  When the foolish women returned they were locked out and not allowed in.
 
This parable is a foreshadow of Christ’s return to earth. We are waiting on earth for Jesus to come and bring us into the marriage feast. We are called to watch and wait for that event. This is not a work that can be done on our own. God exposes us to the truth that we are depraved and wicked and need something to save us. If we want to follow the ways of Jesus and unite with God we can’t be depraved and wicked. We need a remedy that will make us perfect because a holy God isn’t able to unite with the imperfect.  And we are imperfect. But God, RICH in creativity and care decided to come to earth as a man named Jesus. While He was on earth he told people about the history of God and showed the people how everything they heard was going to happen was happening right before their eyes. You see, they were right in the middle of their imperfections. They felt the sting of life and they were told from the time they were little that there would be a man that would cross their path that would lead them to the place of perfection and fulfillment that they were looking for.  And finally, he came! It was a surprise to many all.  But, there was a catch. He told them that if they wanted to be perfect he would have to represent all of their imperfections before God. So….He did. The way he did that was by proclaiming this truth to all those around him. This ended badly for him because it lead him to a public trail and they chose to sentence him to death. The public officials thought he was trying to become a king and turn the government upside down.  But the most amazing thing is that the outcome of this trial, His death, was a part of God’s plan. As Christ died he was representing all of humanity before God and God promised that if Jesus died as that representative, all of our imperfections would die with him.  There was also a part of the deal that when Christ died he would raise from the dead three days later to complete and verify all He said and did. And…HE DID!  Inside of that promise is the promise that if we believe and profess Jesus in His life, death and resurrection we too can enter under his umbrella of perfection.  You see, as Christ died as a representative for our imperfections….all of our imperfections died too. It is hard to understand because we still very much operate in imperfections. But, the cool thing is that God can’t see them because He only sees us through the lens of Christ, who is perfect. As you are reading this Christ is sitting at the right hand of God praying for you and reminding God that you are an heir of the heritage and gifts that came under the umbrella of Christ’s death and resurrection!  Clear as mud?
 
I am so thankful for the Lord’s creativity and care.  The oil in my lamp will always be sustained through the power and work of Jesus Christ on the cross and then His ressurection. I won’t be locked out of the wedding supper.  BUT, I want to be on watch and I don’t want to be asleep when the Lord returns or when he blesses. I want to be hopeful. I want to be full of confidence. 
 
And to be honest, right now, I feel like the hot mess that was the foolish woman.  I feel weary from long standing prayers that continue to receive a “wait.”  I begin to fear that my hope will be put to shame. Even in my optimism there is a distant cry of disappointment and a feeling of being unsatisfied. I don’t want to feel any of that- I want to be confident and trust God’s character.
 
I think I need to get back into the habit of fasting. I want to fast and pray for the ‘oil.’ The sustaining power to wait and watch well.  I want to ask regularly for the return of Christ and I want to be sustained by living on the righteousness of Christ for this momentary life. I want to operate in the fullness of the heritage that I have been given as an heir of Christ.  I want to be taken away to the marriage feast that is already here but yet to come! 
 
I know that in all my waiting- for God’s return or for the good, yet perishing, earthly gifts- that I won’t be put to shame (Ps. 25:3).  As Andrew Murray states in Waiting on God, Day 6, “With all these, it is nothing but that they have not yet learned the secret of full waiting upon God. They just need, what we all need, the living assurance that waiting on God can never be in vain. Let us remember all who are in danger of fainting or being weary, and all unite in the cry, “Let none that wait on Thee be ashamed!”
 
I will not be put to shame. Do I believe it? Do you believe it?
 
This doesn’t mean ‘X’ will happen or ‘Y’ will come to pass. But I can rest assured that God’s good will is towards me and out of jealousy He is delighted to pursue a relationship with me. He works all things for my good because I love Him. To the believer, these words are not just hyperbole. Nor are they mechanical sedatives to get us through each day. These are promises that come from Jesus Christ himself that you can see when you read through his historical life.  
 
These promises are the oil that keep my lamp going. The sustenance that satisfies my groaning. The power that gets me out of bed each morning when it feels like I am in the Groundhog Day movie. It’s the energy to finish a work project I have been dreading for months. It is the quiet joy in my soul when I don’t get a call back after a date.  It is the clear vision for my life when the steps right in front of me are blurry. It’s the comfort and security when the closest family members are four, six and ten hours away. It’s the peace that rushes over me when anxiety plagues because of long to do lists. It’s the wisdom that comes in the midst of tight finances.
 
I have a feeling I am not alone. There are a multitude of waiting ones, as Andrew Murray states, who need prayer. How many of you are sick? Are you weary and alone? Are many all of your prayers hitting the proverbial ceiling? Do you feel disappointed in the outcome of your labor? Do you feel like you lack power or that blessing is passing you by? Are you lacking rest and peace- fellowship and strength?
 
Andrew Murray puts a really cool spin. He encourages the waiting ones to pray for the waiting ones. He says that all true seeking of God and His love for ourselves, will be insuperably linked with the thought and the love of our brethren in prayer for them.  He says to take heart because there are more praying for you than you realize. Let it stir us and them in our waiting to make a point of it at times forgetting ourselves, and to enlarge our hearts and say to the Father, “These all wait upon Thee, and Thou gives them their meat in due season.”
 
Wow….that brought me so much hope!  In the last four months I have felt the body of Christ through prayer more than ever before.  I am also regularly encourage as I meet with several people to pray with regularly. It has really been so sustaining!  As November is here and we are settling in for the winter it is easy to look at the seasons of life change. It is easy to feel death and depravity in our own life. BUT GOD!  Even when we think things are hopeless there is a glimmer of hope for life that has yet to rise above the surface. The plans that God has to prosper and give us hope. There are plans that have yet to be revealed.  There is a Savior on His way to unite us with God for all eternity!
 
To end, I have a visual that God has used to prep me for these truths. As I have noticed the changing of the season with our garden at the house I can see that everything is on it’s last leg. I even thought all of my summer flowers were already dead.  BUT, I have noticed that one of the flowers had the potential to bud. And guess what…it did this week! I thought that was a great picture of hope and the ongoing work of God on our behalf…especially through the saints!
 
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“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Let none that wait on the Lord be ashamed; no, not one. Some are weary, and the time of waiting appears long. And some are feeble, and scarcely know how to wait. And some are so entangled in the effort of their prayers and their work, they think that they can find no time to wait continually. Father, teach us all how to wait Teach us to think of each other, and pray for each other. Teach us to think of Thee, the God of all wiring ones. Father! Let non that wait on you be ashamed! For Jesus’ sake, Amen.”
 

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Beauty in the Desert

“During those early years in Tuskegee, God caught my attention with the beauty and power of the tabernacle as a model for my devotional life. I was alone and losing courage for the very work that inspired my move to the Deep South. I remember returning home one hot Albama night, discouraged and lonely. As I walked up to the trailer under the glistening moonlight, it hit me: I was not alone. This was more than a feeling. [This season] was becoming my tabernacle. [This season] was where I lived out and worked out my relationship with God. It was where I cried out to God for mercy and understanding; it was where I awoke after midnight in anguish of heart, mulling over the news from home – one more of my childhood friends [achieved something I wanted]. And although I had obeyed God, I felt left behind, in a maze of uncertainty. It was there I realized that the key for my life lay in the realities to which the tabernacle pointed me. I had to step into the way of the tabernacle and follow its path into the very presence of God to find what he had for me.

-Excerpt from “Beauty in the Desert- Discover Deeper Intimacy with God Through the Model of the Tabernacle” by Eddie Broussard

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The old is always new…

Sometimes you just need new reminders of old truths.  I often find myself rummaging through the preschool fifth grade section of my church website to remind myself of the foundation of who God is. It amazes me that these truths often feel like new ideas rushing over me for the first time. Oh how we all need to be reminded of who God is. There are lies that impede the framework I think I know so well. If you read the list below I promise you will find something you don’t truly believe. I think I believe them all but my thoughts and actions prove otherwise. I am thankful He gives a wide place for my steps under me and my feet do not slip (Ps. 18:36). 

So, as you go about your day, remember in the midst of your drinking and your eating, your playing and your work, your fear and confusion, your joy and your delight, that…..

  • God made everything
  • God is in charge of everything
  • God is good
  • Jesus came to save sinners
  • God wants to talk to us
  • God is wise and knows what is best
  • God is generous and gives what is best
  • God is loving and does what is best
  • God is good and IS what is best

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Read ‘Las Chequetas’ Blog!

It was a Friday night and I had lived in Dallas a year and a half.  I was going to the DMA with a few girls I had just met through a church home group. We took in the art, enjoyed some wine and watched a traditional African dance.  The night ended with us sitting in the car sharing  funny dreams we recently had. From that night on I gained some of my closest friends. One of those being Jennifer (Stetter) Jacket.

Jen and I would meet up several mornings to walk and pray. We would enjoy our self-proclaimed wine and theology nights and we would religiously watch an old man break out some amazing dance moves at our favorite Plano establishment, Obzeet.  We eventually moved in together after feeling God’s calling to move closer to The Village Dallas campus and we co-lead a home group together. I was able to watch first hand the joy of God bringing Jen and her husband, David, into a relationship and then stand next to them as the Maid of Honor in their wedding.

Our relationship has had highs and lows that have firmly planted our friendship in Christ. I am so thankful to have walked so closely with Jen for such a brief time and now continue to stay in contact as best as we can considering God has led our lives down separate trajectories for the time being.  It’s always a joy to connect and share the fun things going on around us as well as the deep things God is doing in our lives.

All of that to say, she is a gem. You would benefit from her writing….check out her blog and drink from the well that she so eloquently leads you to in her writing!169739_536973699039_6761878_o 26478_525628904099_1423897_n 559896_621994327019_269123166_n 936442_647046572119_1432203723_n

 

 

 

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When you find a good thing you can’t hide it!

Nail Polish Remover PAds

Have you ever found yourself at a work meeting and looked down at your nails and immediately feel like you are looking at the nails of a junior high girl? You know what I am talking about…some nails have a few chips- some no color left at all. You are lucky if there is full coverage on any of the nails actually.

Have you found yourself in the same situation but on a work trip, heading out for a date, sitting down at a wedding?

Me Neither – I Have!

And while I don’t judge people if I ever notice (in which I don’t!),  I immediately feel a little embarrassed if when I am in this situation. I feel like an unkept juvenile. Will people take me seriously? Surely not:) This usually leads to some fidgeting and trying to pick off the rest of the polish which in turn leaves a mess of little chips of paint. I become a hot mess!

I mean, it just continues to go downhill from here.

WHAT TO DO?!?!? Well, this weekend I found something that is a step in the right direction! Especially for a busy traveler like me. It’s annoying to pack a bottle of remover + cotton balls every time I leave. It’s also rare for me to remember to pack nail polish. And let’s face it…it is honestly worse to put a layer over chipped polish.  Can I get an amen? I also usually have carry-on luggage and 3 oz isn’t going to get you anywhere!

Can you see I have thought long and hard about this?🙂

Check these out!

I just got home from a conference and realized half way through my nails were horrid! Luckily I bought polish but they quickly started chipping away. The hotel I stayed at offered nail polish remover so I quickly called the front desk and the speedily brought me a stack of these wipes!  They. Are. A. MA. ZING!  In fact, one of the first things I did when I got home was see if I could purchase them to store in my backs and purses.

I am so excited!  Watch out world…I have my act together:)

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Words from the Wise

“Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling of that something which you were born desiring?

You have never had it.

All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it — tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.

But if it should really become manifest — if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself — you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say “Here at last is the thing I was made for.”

-CS Lewis

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