Jesus Calling: January 1-6, 2013

As I move into 2013, I find myself seeking and anticipating a time of renewal. My daughter is finally getting to an age where I don’t feel that she demands all of my attention and I can return to some of the things in my life that have been put on the back burner. One of the tools of renewal is the Word of God, and I love that Jesus Calling begins with the encouragement “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2) We cannot truly have a renewal of the mind without regular time spent in the Presence of Jesus.

A consistent theme in the first week of Jesus Calling is the presence of God. Throughout the week, the author chooses beautiful phrases and scriptural references to remind us about the attentiveness of His presence, His healing presence, the light of His presence, the peace of His presence, and His universal presence. It is one thing to understand that Jesus said He will never leave us or forsake us. But do you also realize that this means His presence is constantly with you? That in the here and now He is fully and universally attentive to you?

Don’t get me wrong — this is not an “all about me” idea. Many believers make the mistake that everything Jesus did and said was all about them and now they just need to figure out how to squeeze the blessings out of this salvation thing. Wrong. Everything that Jesus did and said was because He was carrying out His father’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself. We are part of that plan. God has desired relationship with His creation (including us) from the beginning, but it took the sacrifice of Jesus to bring that relationship back to fullness.

Relationship requires the presence of both individuals. As many people in broken relationships know, it doesn’t work if only one person is present. Jesus offers us His constant presence and in return He asks us for our attentiveness to that presence. He asks for trust, deep dependence, and profound reliance. His presence is our constant companion and place of refuge. The author of Jesus Calling encourages us to hide in the secret of His presence, knowing that we are in the Presence of the One “who can do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20)

Enter into His presence today.

My Daughter, the Princess

This weekend, my almost 3-year-old daughter was invited to a little boy’s birthday party. She is just now “getting” the idea of birthdays and birthday parties, so needless to say she was extremely excited to go. In addition, this little boy is a playmate from church and one of her favorite people. Before we left she announced, “When we get there I am going to give (insert little boy’s name) a big hug and a big kiss and tell him that I am a princess!!”

My first thought was “go for it!” but then I got very emotional and proud of her for having the sweet audacity to tell a young man that she is a princess. You see, growing up I was always quick to give the boys a hug and a kiss but never knew that I also needed to remind them that I am a princess. I didn’t receive that kind of guidance growing up. I didn’t know how to relate to boys other than to do whatever it took to get their attention — positive or negative. God love my Dad, but he just wasn’t there for me in the sense of teaching me about the kind of respect and positive attention that I should expect from a boy. I didn’t learn that until I understood Jesus as my Father and me as His bride.

A dear friend of mine always tells her two foster girls that they are “Daughters of the King” and I am trying to carry that lesson over to my daughter. And a daughter of the King is — you guessed it — a princess. My prayer is that it will be rooted deeply in my daughter’s psyche that she is a Daughter of the Most High King Jesus, that she certainly is a princess in His eyes, and the boys better know who her Daddy is.

2013…Jesus Calling

As I begin to think about blogging again, I realized that I should probably review my “About Me” page to see if it is still relevant! Probably the most upsetting thing was having to change “thirty-something” to “forty-something” but hey…not much I can do about that. The goal of this blog is still relatively the same, although God has certainly been moving in my life differently since I became a mother almost 3 years ago. I realize more acutely that time is extremely limited and I don’t want to miss a moment of my daughter’s life if I can help it.

This year I will be re-reading Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotional and blogging about it each week. If you haven’t picked up this devotional, you should (there’s even a gorgeous leather edition). I can’t count the number of times of the last year that I shared her words with a friend or family member, either by email, Facebook, or even snapping a photo of the day’s message with my iPhone and sending it via text message. It is amazing!! I will of course try to post about other things that inspire me, and I welcome suggestions from any readers out there.

Blessings to you in 2013.

Hello Friends and Readers

I want to take a moment and thank all of you who have taken time to visit my blog and post a comment. I regret that my blog has been inactive for a couple of years (I’m raising a toddler!) but I plan to begin blogging again soon and hope that you will continue to visit. There have been so many compelling responses to my various blog posts, some creating more reader interest than others, and for that I am truly thankful. Please expect to hear from me soon!

Blessings,

Meg

The Good Word from MIQRA

Many readers of this blog may have noticed occasional references to the MIQRA Institute, a small educational institute in Lincoln, NE that provides seminars and courses in biblical studies, theology, hermeneutics, and other topics. They are fabulous and consistently provide solid and sound teaching in the Word of God.

The President of MIQRA, Vern Steiner, provided the following excellent commentary on Micah 6:8 in their most recent ministry update that I wanted to share with my readers.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

“While studying the line ‘to do justice,’ for example, I discovered that the ‘justice’ in view is rooted in the character and will of God the Creator and Covenant LORD, not in what we or the laws of the land define as fair, impartial, or due punishment in the interest of social equality or national security. The biblical accent…falls more on bringing justice to people than on bringing people to justice. And we do so, that is, we do justice, especially when we intervene on behalf of the wronged, the suffering, or the marginalized and take action in righting the situation. It is obvious, then, that doing justice requires God’s people to approach, say, the issue of immigration in this country with an entirely different set of criteria from those that pass as appropriate legal policy. This is because God’s version of justice, oriented to Creation and measured by the Cross, looks different from anything the world calls ‘just’.”

WOW! YES! Is anyone else out there approaching the issue of immigration in the US this way?? Praise the Lord for a view on immigration that isn’t based in fear but in love. That, my friends, in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There’s more where that came from at the MIQRA Institute. Check them out!

Breastfeeding Saves Lives

Even though I am an RN and a certified breastfeeding educator, I never realized that breastfeeding could be so difficult or so rewarding. Since Selah was born in February I am happy to say that she has only received breastmilk. I encourage any woman who experiences early feeding problems (we did — Selah was “tongue-tied” which interfered with her ability to latch) to get help from an experienced lactation consultant as early as possible! I would have been completely lost if it weren’t for the help of our community breastfeeding clinic Milkworks

There is no substitute for breastmilk and don’t believe the formula companies who will tell you differently. Nothing compares to having your little one pull away from the breast briefly during a feeding, look up at you, scrunch up her nose and smile! 

Want more evidence? The following is reprinted from “Child Care Exchange” the Early Childhood Education Daily Newsletter (thanks to my friend Deb for sharing!). 

Breastfeedng Saves Lives
April 7, 2010 

Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.
-Claude Monet

“If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year.”
As we celebrate World Health Day today, we should be reminded about the importance of breastfeeding by this new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.  This report further observed…

“The United States incurs $13 billion in excess costs annually and suffers 911 preventable deaths per year because our breastfeeding rates fall far below medical recommendations…

“The World Health Organization says infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Ame rican Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree that breast milk alone is sufficient for newborns and infants until they are 6 months old.

“However, a 2009 breastfeeding report card from the CDC found that only 74 percent of women start breastfeeding, only 33 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at three months and only 14 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at six months.

Dr. Melissa Bartick, one of the new study’s co-authors, says “…the vast majority of extra costs incurred each year could be saved if 80 to 90 percent of women exclusively breastfed for as little as four months and if 90 percent of women would breastfeed some times until six months. Most of the excess costs are due to premature deaths. Nearly all, 95 percent of these deaths, are attributed to three causes: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); necrotizing enterocolitis, seen prima rily in preterm babies and in which the lining of the intestinal wall dies; and lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.  Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of all of these and seven other illnesses studied.”

 

Welcome to the world Baby Selah

Our precious daughter, Selah Noel, came into the world on February 13, 2010. She is a beautiful, amazing reflection of God’s grace. We were told by the experts that we would likely never conceive a child on our own. More specifically, we were given a 0%-4% chance of conceiving naturally. Glory to God that He had other plans. We did conceive naturally and now have a healthy baby girl as a testament to God’s grace and sovereignty in our lives.

We chose the name Selah because it means to pause and reflect. We pray that our daughter will live life in this way — as a child of God who takes the time to savor life and reflect on the blessings of God at every twist and turn. We love you Baby Selah. You are nothing but pure joy to me and your Daddy.

Destruction in Haiti: What You Can Do to Help

  

Haiti suffered a 7.3 magnitude earthquake the afternoon of 1/12. Our friends at El Shaddai Ministries are struggling to communicate and find out the status of the hundreds of orphans in their care. Pastor Louis St. Germain, leader of El Shaddai Ministries who lives in the southern city of Les Cayes, had this update today: 

“Access to Les Cayes by road is impossible. A big mountain collapsed. Only by motorbike.
We cannot communicate with Port au Prince, our relatives and friends are missing so far in those areas. We have no news from them. We have no news from our children’s home in Port au prince. In the south most the children and the sites are Okay. Pastor Chry’s house at Chantal was hit. A wall collapsed.
In Les Cayes we wake up in a different city this morning. Until now we still have some aftershocks. Everyone left their home. The people is in the street. There is panic every were. People are afraid.
If Port au Prince, which represents the heart of Haiti is 85%of the population is destroy, we cannot imagine the next few days how it’s going to be if we don’t get any help.
Thank you for your love and your support.”
Pastor Louis St. Germain
 
Here are resources if you can help our brothers and sisters in Haiti: 
  • Global Orphan Project (Christ-centered organization well-connected with local Haitian networks; currently trying to get 1-2 months extra supply of food to the many orphans close to the epicenter of the quake)
  • Food for the Hungry (Gospel-centered ministry with holistic philosophy of relief and development, currently with first responders coming from the Dominican Republic)
  • American Red Cross (You can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti)
  • Mission to North America (This is the Haitian church-planting arm of the PCA where you can donate directly to the Haitian locals of El Shaddai Ministries who know firsthand the needs of their own people)