...that whoever believes in Him... - John 3:16
Head: Belief is a hinge. In the context of our life, the next move we make is always done so with a hinge moment of belief. We might believe it's safe to jump from a high dive, or not. We might believe that a bite of food is too spicy, or not. We might believe that our children are capable of more than they even believe, or not. Decision making is always rooted in some level of belief or lack of.
Jesus tells us 5 times in the course of 4 verses about belief. (see John 3:15-18). Quite a lot of emphasis placed on belief. There is a life and death urgency placed on belief and the choices we make concerning what we believe to be true. God gave us Christ. He is our only access, the only door, to Heaven. He is the door, but for the door to swing wide for all who enter their hinge must be one of belief. Disbelief is like a broken, rusty, useless hinge. For the door to open, we must only believe.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? -Romans 8:32
Head: Your children are your most precious belonging. They belong to you and you belong to them. They are precious and priceless to you. You will protect them from harm at at all cost. Never in a million years would you ever imagine having a child simply to watch them sacrifice themselves for humanity. No, you wouldn't put that in your plans and dreams for your children.
The fact is, as humans, we are so far from perfect. We are selfish creatures from our first breath, our only goal is to survive. With perfect spirits and fracture souls we try to navigate this life. We have babies and bring them along on the journey with us. We try to help them navigate this broken world. The fact will always remain that this world is lost and broken. That is why God sent us His only begotten Son into this world. To offer healing and a peace like no other. It is the only way to help us overcome our love and addiction to sin.
Heart: The preciousness of what God did, His gift that showed us his deep love, remain a mystery to us. John (1John 4:9) and Paul (Romans 8:32) both write about this all giving act that shattered the veil that kept us from fully experiencing the closeness of God. It set free the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and friend. Jesus, giving of Himself is equal to God giving of Himself. Jesus is with God. (John 1:1-3). How this is true is part of the mystery we won't understand this side of eternity. Jesus still walked among us as a man, our Deity wrapped in flesh. He walked among us in our filth and dirty living just to love us. Our God incarnate, through man, was still the eternal God himself.
When He gave the most precious gift, His Son, His own "life", He walked into the presence of death and took what belonged to Him. He conquered death, set captives free, atoned for our sins, and rose again in the flesh to show the lost world what He did. Christ basically said... "Here, Hold my Crown. I'm going to fix this once and for all." The enemy was not expecting God to give so freely of Himself, because the enemy would never do such a thing.
Hands: As parents, we can't imagine giving so freely by way of our children. The fact remains that our children were God's long before they were ours. He dreamed of them long before you took your first breath. While we would never sacrifice our children, we should love them sacrificially. There comes a day when we as parents, quite often, that we fall completely short of meeting our child's needs. We are flesh who love our sin and addictions. While Christ sets us free from them we have to accept and embrace the freedom fully by living in complete submission. We also, have to give our children back to God all the while remembering that He loves them more than we could ever. While our children are priceless to us. They are priceless to our God. His view of the value of life is far different than ours, His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. They are exalted above anything we could imagine for our children. Breathe the promises of God into your children every chance you get. Remind them on the regular Who they belong to.
For God so loved... - John 3:16
Head: As mothers, our children look up to us for safety, love, authority, and trust. They find confidence in knowing we are watching to applaud and even to keep them within the boundaries of what is safe. Our children look to us when there is any question of what is right and wrong, it is part of our job as mothers to guide them and show them the way; to navigate this life.
There was a time, prior to Christ, that the world saw our God as One that is strict, with an eye of disapproval and a hand that punished. God was considered an outright tyrant. Even today, those who don't know Him, still believe this about Him. That is why the message of love is so important to share. We can not earn His love because He loved us first.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life. - John 3:16
,Head: The most memorized scripture of the Bible. 25 words. They say dynamite comes in small packages. I imagine this little verse to be a very small little package with all the power of the gospel packed inside. Nothing was left to question. It's clear and to the point. Even an unbeliever, if asked, could tell you exactly what it means. God loves us. This one verse can reach hearts to the end of the earth and it can reach those sitting right at your kitchen table.
I remember watching a the movie, The Passion, and was crushed by the sacrifice Jesus made for us. As a mother with babies I felt the anguish from a mothers perspective. I could never imagine any one of my children suffering such a death because of false accusations and hate. The verse itself came to life before my eyes and my soul grieved for Jesus and all who loved Him. I often wonder, how can I teach my children just how much they are loved. How can I show them the true, deep, profound, good news that they are SO loved.
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. - Deuteronomy 33:27
Head: We all know how life moves so quickly forward. As I stop at moments during my day and marvel at a memory that was shared or a picture of my children from when they were very little, the swiftness of this life is even more real. Sometimes it moves so quickly we can barely keep up. Except, it seems that when the hard stuff follows us it seems to draw out for what feels like eternity and wear deeply on our patience. When we have burdens on us and heavy weight of life, the trials we face seem to keep us on a slow moving road that will never end. We carry burdens we were never meant to carry and it takes our minds off of the future that God has planned for us. "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future." - Jeremiah 28:11
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventhly he rested from all his work. - Genesis 2:1-2
Head: March 20, 2019 marks the first day of Spring and a super moon. As I look out my window at night, it is so bright I can see into the distance, through the wooded area. I'm am always amazed at the night sky and how it changes, yet stays the same. Things we look for are the Big Dipper, the moon, the North Star.. Our eyes search the sky at night for something familiar and still it can look so very different. It's such a beautiful creation. Our God breathed the stars into existence, creating night and day, the sky, the seas, the land, and everything that grows. He created the moon, the stars, men and women, and so much more. He simply spoke, and the all powerful God of the universe and He was not even tired after all that work. He could have done all of that in one breath but He took His time. Possibly, He had something He wanted us to learn from the work. That we were designed to rest.
I am a woman who is deeply troubled...I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief. - 1 Samuel 1: 15-16
Head: Hannah's "great anguish and grief" were the direct result of years of infertility, relentless torment, and social mockery. Then, one day she went to the temple to pray. That day was the day she poured it all out to our Lord Father. She was so tired of just trying to get through her days, her years. She let it all out. It as so intense that others thought she was drunk or had lost her mind. She had had enough of the heartache. There was nothing she was going to hold back from God during that moment. The pain poured with a burst. Scripture doesn't promise us all good days, sunshine and rainbows. What it does promise is, after such pouring out of heartfelt prayers, peace. Peace that is so pure that even if we don't understand our circumstances, we know that we are held by the One who loves us most.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28
Head: Just has handwritten a personal invitation right in His Word to you and to me with such gentle lovingkindness, He calls us to come to Him and receive His gift. He knows that we've been out in the world in all its busyness. He knows that as moms we are weary and burdened. We can feel run down and worry ourselves over our children. He knows that we need Him to help us put it all down. He is strong enough for our heaviest burden so that we can run to Him, straight through the open door into His loving arms. In His arms we can rest, catch our breath and take Him in like the long drink of Living Water that He is.
We are more than conquerers through him who loved us. -Romans 8:37
Head: Self-care and self-improvement...we are all trying to improve ourselves in. some form or fashion. We may be working out to become more fit , eating clean to be healthier, reading to become wiser., or paying attention to others to be more loving. We want success in everything we do from business to personal relationships and we try so hard to be "good enough."
In the end, we sometimes find we are wearing ourselves thin, we are exhausted and we are still chasing that ever elusive "balance". There aren't many self help or motivational books these days that tell us the truth...we will never attain it on our own. The verse above reminds us that we are more than conquerers through Him. The One who saves and gained victory over sin and death, He is our strength were we are weak. It is Christ who allows us to do all the things we are capable of doing.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work. - Exodus 20:9-10
Head: I want to take you on a little walk down my memory lane. Take a moment to imagine. I often remember when I was a little girl and there were miles and miles of fields and forest behind our house. In that forest were trees that were begging for me to climb them. The best trees for climbing were always the ones that had long, thick branches that hung low and stretched out over the world below. I would shimmy up the trunk a bit and pull myself up until I reached the branch that looked the best for resting, one with a view. I would carefully balance my way out on the branch with each careful step and then lower myself down to sit for a little while. I would rest and take a deep breath. The work to get to the place of rest was...work. The rest itself was so rewarding. The view was always worth it.
Here! Hold My Crown! Is a forthcoming devotional for mothers. Written by Aimee Larsen, a mother of 5 children. She walked through having a premie, infertility, miracles, foster care, and adoption.