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At The Foot of The Cross

Every day I must wake up and remember who I am in Christ- loved, accepted, redeemed, worthy and righteous. When I forget or mistake my identity, and I often do, I spend my day resolving, grasping, controlling and exhausting myself trying to secure that which is already mine, procured by the sacrifice of my Savior not the striving of myself. Jesus did die for my sins and yours, but He also forfeited everything to impart His perfect record to us. I can work so hard attempting to achieve that which I only need to surrender and receive. Friend, this week I am praying for the grace to leave our debts, failures, and insufficiencies nailed to the cross where they have been rectified. There is a shady spot waiting for us at the foot of the cross.

Jesus did die for my sins and yours, but He also forfeited everything to impart His perfect record to us. I can work so hard attempting to achieve that which I only need to surrender and receive. Friend, this week I am praying for the grace to leave our debts, failures, and insufficiencies nailed to the cross where they have been rectified. There is a shady spot waiting for us at the foot of the cross.

There is a shady spot waiting for us at the foot of the cross.

You are loved!♥️

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Resurrection Living

Every year around Easter time I reflect on the amazing truth that after Jesus’ crucifixion came His resurrection. When I think about what that sealed for me, I cannot help but rejoice. It was the genesis of the greatest hope the world had ever known. A displaced stone and an empty tomb ushered into eternity new life for followers of King Jesus; securing victory over death, guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation. How wonderful that news is for you and me!

The resurrection of Jesus handed us a priceless gift including all the assets we need to live a joyful life. But I would be remiss if I also did not take the time to ask myself honestly, Today, am I living in the darkness of Jesus’ crucifixion or the light of His resurrection?

Often fear is a frequent “friend.” Sin is my sneaky shadow and circumstances can hollow my heart of hope. This life can easily conform me into a pattern of crucifixion living when I neglect the conditions of my head and my heart. May we never forget the crucifixion, friends; but we must remember Jesus did not die for us to get stuck there. He did not die for us to live small defeated lives. Yes, all stories have seasons of suffering, and many do not end well. It is only the stories of believers living under the resources of a selfless Savior that have the certainty of happy ever after.

I will be honest. I long for this life to look like a Hallmark movie. When I am persisting horizontally, I am defeated by my desire. It is only when my eyes are fixed vertically on Jesus, and I am persevering out of the provisions secured by His resurrection that I can live a victorious life because I know how my story ends and there is a big red bow on top!

Lord Jesus, thank you for procuring paradise for me. I pray that I along with all your children would remember the royalties afforded by your resurrection. May we cast off the weights of crucifixion living, and rest under the shelter of your resurrection. We love you, Lord. Thank you for loving us enough to ensure what we could never do for ourselves. I ask that you would grant us the grace to live from the promises of the resurrection, not just during the Easter season, but through all seasons. Amen.

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In Rememberance We Find Rest

img_06891.pngJesus’ last three words before giving up His Spirit on the cross were, it is finished.  As believers, those are three of the most significant words that are so easy to forget. I often find myself losing sight of that truth, and I end up in a position of Jesus plus me or Jesus plus something else equals fulfillment.  My failure to remember that Jesus completed everything for me on the cross only leads me down a path of trying harder, idolatry, guilt, self-condemnation and ultimately shame and exhaustion.

It can be hard to believe and thus accept that it is just that easy; someone who owes me nothing died to make me right before God and to provided eternal life.   It feels much more natural to want to work off my debt.

There is something oddly comforting about pulling the products my sins, (guilt, shame, self-condemnation, self-pity), back down off the cross and wearing them like a warm, comforting coat on a blustery day. 

Continuing to feel guilty, shamed or condemned is an illusive form of self-righteousness.  Ouch!  It suggests Jesus isn’t enough and I need to help Him secure my salvation.

Isaiah 30:15 says in repentance and rest is my salvation.  That is good news for you and me.  When I go to The Father in repentance, I must not only repent for what I did but also what I failed to believe that led me astray.  Like the prodigal father, Jesus is always scanning the horizon to run to us with open arms and a forgiving heart.

It is finished, friends! 

I pray you remember to live from that, and when you forget like I sometimes do, turn back to your Father and rest in His grace!

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I Am Me and You Are You


I am me, and you are you, and we are both good. I can leave so many things undone, never tried or accomplished because I fail to remember I am me and there is no one made just like me. I devalue myself by looking around and comparing what I do to what others do, and I never measure up in my eyes.

The Lord has been convicting my heart of the tragedy of the sin of comparison. It is an insult to Him, the knitter of every fiber of my soul. Comparison breeds fear and inadequacy, causing me to lead a small, supposedly “safe” life instead of the fulfilling one God intends for me. Friends, we are all made unique, and our gifts are not less than anyone else’s because they are not like anyone else’s.

What gift or calling are you letting fear suppress? Will you join me and cease listening to the lies and believe the Lord?

Ephesians 2:10 ~For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’ ~ Erma Bombeck

Soar like an eagle, friend.

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Fallen but Forgiven

c0f0a014d0ca6c9b6745b46b89df2196Dear friend, I know you need to hear this today. It is perfectly normal that you are both a masterpiece and a mess simultaneously. You may say, “I do not feel like much of a masterpiece right now, but Oh, you are! See, it is confirmed here in God’s infallible word~Ephesians 2:10~ For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus. Yes, it is true you are a mixed bag. So am I! That is because we live in a fallen world, of fallen people, with fallen laws, fallen morals and a ferocious enemy who wants you to believe fallible ideas about yourself. Not one of us is perfect, but our freedom is not in our perfection; it is in the truth that we are fallen citizens, but forgiven children! You are loved!

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Daily Prayer

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Lord Jesus, today help me be more concerned with being kind than being correct.  Give me the grace to live in the shade of eternity rather than the shadow of entitlement.  May the priority of my heart be mankind before me.  Keep me from falling into the trap of judgement.  Remind me that all dress in sin, and although mine may look different than my neighbors,  I am just as guilty!  May all reading this find refuge from the flesh in repentance and rest instead of shame and self condemnation.  Lastly, Lord embolden me to be less anxious about disturbing others with truth, myself included, than offending you with tolerance.  Amen.

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The Face of Danger is Not Always Evil

 

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Children should not go to public bathrooms alone, nor should teen girls.  I always tell my daughter to take a friend if I am not with her.  I do not tell her this because I am concerned about any particular population of people other than PREDATORS.  Predators do not fit the image we want to mold them into to make ourselves feel comfortable.  They are rarely a face that signals danger, and they are prone to hang out in places we deem to be the safest.

It is hard for us to face the reality of evil being packaged so nice and neatly in places we trust.  We are much more comfortable making “different” people the enemy because it makes us feel better.

We have to wake up and know this disillusion is one way we make ourselves and our children vulnerable to the depravity of our fallen world.

Also, I know I am stepping on some toes, but Jesus did not hang out with the self-righteous, the do-gooders, the know it alls.  Luke 5:32 ~”I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”  He went straight for hearts broken by sin, (that would include all of us), not built by superiority.

I do not believe if He walked this world today that He would shun away any population of people.  It is easy to forget that; we are ALL people.  Jesus did not come to shame people with law, but to shower them with love.  The best way to make an impact on someone is how well you love them as they are and not how you think they should be.  Yes, we must speak the truth; but we must say it swaddled in love or not speak at all; otherwise all is lost.

 “Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws.  Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.” ~Tim Keller

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Freely Inadequate but Fully Accepted

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Are you feeling inadequate this morning?  Me, too.  As a matter of fact, I have been feeling incompetent for some time now due to a variety of life challenges.  Then last Thursday happened.

I was attending a dinner, and the speaker was talking about a very dark subject.  She was telling her story, and it was very far from pretty.  One thing the brave woman said with a trembling voice has captivated my thoughts since that night.  I am paraphrasing her words; I never thought Jesus could love and forgive a sinner as dirty as me.  Then one day I realized that my attitude about His forgiveness was equivalent to me putting Jesus back on the cross because He did not do His job right the first time and I could not do that.

Wow!  I have been thinking a lot about how many times I am crucifying Jesus again because I too am not feeling “good enough.”  The truth I often forget is that I am not good enough, never was, never will be and that is why Christ had to pay the ultimate price for me.

Jesus died for my inadequacies, and yours.  Being ashamed of them is a dishonor to Him.  He willingly gave his life to give me mine.  He suffered a cruel, undeserved death to complete me in all the areas I am incomplete.  Because He is whole, I am free to be broken.  Because he is perfect, I am free to be imperfect.  That is good news for a ragamuffin like me.

There is no need to twinge in light of my truth and no reason to cower to condemnation.  I am righteous because Jesus has risen.  Isaiah 61:10 says it best;  I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!  For he has dressed me in the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

I am prone, however, to forget what I know to be true.  I knew His promise, but I had forgotten.  I had forgotten, and thus, I had forsaken the Gospel.  Life has a tendency to court us away from the truth, but God has a tender character that carries us back under the shelter of His wings where we are allowed to be freely inadequate but fully accepted.  I am preaching this to myself today, friends.  I pray if need be you can find rest here, too.

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Perfectly Imperfect

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She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.  When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.  Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Does this crush you?  It sure does me if I am using it as a motto to live instead of a model to learn!  I cannot measure up to this, and I cannot think of anyone who does.  This passage is not meant to condemn us, though, but rather point us to our need for Jesus.  Also, the last part is the concept we all need to grasp. A woman who fears The Lord will be greatly praised.  Fear in this sense does not have a negative connotation, but a positive one.  Do we live in reverence, of God, desiring to please Him and be obedient to His will?  Do we do this to make ourselves look good, or because we understand the sacrifice Jesus endured for us, and we want to honor Him out of an understanding of the deep love He has for us? A love so sincere and pure that he died for us.  If we try to be good out of our strength we will never measure up; we will be crushed by our failures.

Mom shame is one of the deadliest tools of the enemy that depletes our self-worth, peace,  joy and contentment.  We have all experienced it, and we have all felt the condemnation that accompanies it.

Yesterday morning was one of those less than stellar mom mornings for me.  I was feeling remnants of anger and frustration from an event the night before, and the scurry of the morning had further contributed to my agitation.

In my sinfulness, at a point along our drive during morning carpool, I pounded my hand hard on the steering wheel.  I spoke no words, but my action resounded loudly.

Immediately I felt shame and convicted by The Lord.  I had just modeled very ungodly behavior for my children. It threatened my “good mom righteousness,” (which is sinful in itself, but that is a whole other post!) and I felt condemned.

After the kids had gotten out of the car, I pulled over and prayed a prayer of repentance and then asked Jesus to help me rest under the warm, peaceful shade of the promise given in Isaiah 30:15~ In repentance and rest is your salvation.

After getting right with The Lord, I knew I had to apologize to my children.  Boy, that is a lot of fun! Humility is holy, but sometimes very hard.

I sent both kids a text that read: I modeled bad behavior for you this morning.  I am sorry I let the frustration in my heart show itself in my action this morning.  I have repented and asked Jesus for forgiveness.  I am also asking for forgiveness from both of you.  I was wrong, and that is why I need Jesus every day!  Love you both, Mom.

The Lord was merciful as He showed me there is good that comes even from my goof ups if I am seeking Him.  After repenting, I felt at peace.  God can bring redemption to every story in our book of life.  He showed me that sometimes my biggest mess ups are my best means to teach my children lessons of eternal value; such as repentance, prayer, and most importantly how much we all need a Savior!

Moms, give yourself a break.  Nowhere does it say we should be perfect, just progressing.  When your brokenness comes knocking, and it will, model for your children how to restore it in a way that redeems and glorifies the Lord.  Sometimes it is our biggest mistakes that convey our best messages when we frame them in the context of the gospel!

Perfectly imperfect,
D’Anna

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Sin Does Not Justify Sin

 

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One of the hardest lessons The Lord very intentionally worked on with me as I grew was that someone else’s sin was not justification for mine.  Have I mastered this; no, but I am very aware of it.

Life is messy.  We all get hurt. People wound us and sometimes shatter our lives as we knew them.  It is very normal to feel outrage towards our offenders.  Our temper, however, must be disciplined not destructive.

When someone hurts you, or someone you love; don’t let their sin justify yours.  Bridling our emotions does not mean we forget, and all is fine; it means we are free.

It is not our responsibility to punish or judge others.  Galatians 6:7 says ~Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant.  We are only responsible for our actions and reactions, not those of others.  Self-control is hard, but it is holy.  As far as I know God is still God and he is not taking applications for His successor.