Santa Baby

As a child, I loved Santa.  No, I adored Santa.  Since I was a “good” girl, he and I were very tight.  In anticipation of his arrival on Christmas morning, my teeth would chatter so much I could hardly speak.  And I was his biggest defender on the school playground whenever anyone dared to question  his existence.

Of course Santa existed!  We were best buds! BFFs!  (No offense to those of you on the Naughty List.)

My loyalty to Santa persisted until the fifth grade, when I could no longer suppress the nagging feeling that I just might be the last remaining Santa follower in my class.  Fearfully, I approached my mom one fateful December day with THE QUESTION.

Does Santa really exist?

She gently told me the truth.  I still didn’t want to believe it.  Being the tender-hearted type, I was traumatized by this “death” of someone I had dearly loved.  The sight of jolly old St. Nick can still evoke the painful memory of that betrayal to this day.

Embedded in the heart of every child, every person, is a deep desire to be known and loved.  As a college student, years later, I would learn that my devotion to Santa was really a misdirected yearning for God.  Perhaps Blaise Pascal, 17th century French philosopher, physicist, and mathematician, said it best:

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

This world serves up many God-substitutes, things that promise to deliver like the delight of a Christmas morning.  Only in the end they leave us dejected and disillusioned, clutching an empty stocking full of holes.

In God, however, we encounter One whose love for us is real and constant.  In Jesus we find a friend who “sticks closer than a brother.”  In His Spirit we discover true fulfillment and satisfaction.  And unlike Santa, you do not have to “be good” to earn His approval.

God really does exist.

BELIEVE.

Let Him win and fill your heart.  Become His friend and defender.  Long for His arrival, like a little child with chattering teeth.

Take it from a former Santa Baby, now a Friend of God.

He will not disappoint you.

*For the Scriptural basis for these statements see:  Romans 8:38-39, Proverbs 18:24, John 7:38, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:5.

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Invitations

“I want God to talk to me,” Laurel declared one afternoon not long ago, after reading one of my blog posts.

A few “light” conversations followed.  (Exactly how does one embark on a quest to hear the voice of God?)  I encouraged her to read the Bible, since it contains His words.  I also explained that sometimes the Lord might impress something on our hearts that He wants us to know or to do.  We prayed a few times during the past month specifically that God would speak to her.

So when she came out of church this past Sunday with a satisfied little smile on her face, I inquired about it.

“God talked to me,” she stated contentedly.

“Well!  What did He say?”  Now it was my turn to be curious.

“He told me to invite Jamie to church tonight,” was her simple and straightforward reply.

Ok, then.

She didn’t seem at all deterred by the fact that her friend Jamie had turned down recent invitations to church, preferring instead to read or go shopping.  She wasn’t a bit discouraged by the fact that Jamie wasn’t even home that Sunday afternoon, but was out horseback riding, taking advantage of the extra hour of daylight.  Laurel called her cell phone and invited her to church.

And Jamie accepted the invitation.

Jamie accepted another invitation that night too.  Hand in hand with a wide-eyed Laurel, she waited in line to bravely profess her faith in Jesus through baptism.  I’ll never forget the look on Laurel’s face as she waited on the opposite side of the horse trough (read:  Wyoming baptismal tank) to hug her shivering, but happy, friend.

I also won’t forget the lessons I learned from my daughter that day:

~God delights to respond to a heart that is seeking Him.

~When He speaks, listen and obey.

~He invites us to participate in His plan.

~Be sure to R.S.V.P.

~Because any event HE is hosting is one we don’t want to miss!

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A Walk on the Water

Although the wind is still whipping and whirling unrestrained around him, a strange stillness has suddenly settled within.  For there, on the water, he sees the One whom his soul loves.

It is the Lord.  Their eyes meet.

His heart leaps at the thought of being near this One whose very presence presses peace into all that surrounds Him.  And there is that familiar twinkle in the Master’s eyes as His hand beckons him to join Him.

Warmth floods his body as he responds, compelled, drawn, unaware of the murmurings of his companions in the boat behind.

Their gaze is unbroken and the moment seems timeless as he approaches…

Until, for an unexplained instant, he looks away.

A wave of fear engulfs him and he is now painfully aware of his vulnerability and the absolute absurdity of his position.  The water begins to close in around him.  As he’s going under he manages a muffled cry to the One who had so captivated his attention just moments ago.

He is there.  His strong arm reaches down and pulls the dripping, shivering figure close.

“Oh, you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

It might have been a stinging rebuke had not that twinkle still been shining in those loving eyes.

And together they return to the boat.

(Note:  I wrote this way back in 1989(!), and thought I would share since my post yesterday reminded me of it.  It was one of those special times when I felt the Lord allowed me a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Scripture.)

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Water Words

The place I most often hear God’s voice is in the shower.  Please don’t think I’m weird.  (Although I realize it may be too late for that.)  It could be that the noise of the cascading water drowns out the other voices that usually distract me.  Or perhaps for those fifteen or so minutes the Lord knows He has a captive audience.  Whatever the case, He impressed these words on my heart yesterday as I showered.

Keep your eyes on Me.

Like Peter, I had responded to His call to leave the boat of my security and join Him for an adventure on the water.  The feeling of being out there with Jesus was exhilarating.  As long as I kept Him in view I was able to remain upright and afloat, enjoying this new place in my walk with Him.

But recently I had become more conscious of my fellow disciples than the One I was following.  I wondered what they might be thinking of me out there on the water.  I began comparing myself to others who were also stepping out of their boats in response to Jesus’ call.

And I started to sink.

Realizing I was floundering, I called out to Him for help.  He steadied me with His reply.

Keep your eyes on Me.

Then last night before bed I opened my devotional book, Jesus Calling, to that day’s entry.  Guess what I read?  Only this time it was in all caps with an exclamation point.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! 

Yes, Lord.  I hear You.  I will keep my eyes on You.

 

(Note:  The story of Peter walking on the water can be found in Matthew 14:22-33.)

 

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Of Broncos and Belief

“They’re going to lose,” eleven-year-old Laurel kept repeating at the start of the Broncos game on Sunday.

“Quit saying that!”  I admonished her.  “Anything can happen.”

Anything indeed.

I’ve been a Broncos fan since I moved to Colorado in 1983.   John Elway also moved to Denver that year.  One of Chris’ and my first dates (and the first time he held my hand!) was at a Broncos game.  I cheered for them through their Superbowl losses and victories.

Nothing, however, can quite compare with the amusement-park-worthy ride we’ve been on this current season.  (Except of course The Holding of the Hand.  I had to say that because my husband reads my blog.)  Fourth-quarter heroics, game-tying field goals and 80-yard overtime touchdown passes have made Broncos games not-to-be-missed Sunday afternoon TV fare.  Even naysayer Laurel had donned her Dad’s Tebow jersey by halftime and was jumping up and down in front of the screen.

It’s been a nice change for Broncos fans.

There’s been a change in my perspective too.  Instead of writing them off and counting them out when things look bleak, or turning against them like my dear husband does (maybe he won’t really read this!), I find myself holding onto…Hope.  I’ve seen the underdog defeat the favorite and the trailing team come from behind to win too many times this season to doubt.  I BELIEVE.

I’ve needed this reminder that Davids sometimes still defeat Goliaths and Red Seas still can part.  Instead of letting the arrival of a “giant” on my playing field cause me to retreat in fear, I’m now at least entertaining the possibility that I might be able to face it down.  When a friend shares an overwhelming burden with me, I’m more inclined to pray in faith, remembering we serve a God who specializes in pulling out improbable victories.  The Bible is filled with such accounts.   And He is still in the business of authoring unexpected and impossible endings to stories today.  I BELIEVE.

So thank you, Broncos.  It’s been an unforgettable season.  But more importantly, a great lesson for life beyond the football field.

There’s always hope.  Nothing is impossible.  Anything can happen.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But not with God.  Everything is possible with God.”  (Mark 10:27 NLT)

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