Stronger

He is Risen friends! He is risen indeed!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24)

The Cross was not the end of all things, but the beginning.

Death could not defeat Him, the grave could not hold him, He’s alive!

Proclaiming this song with you all today and letting His name be lifted high, because He is indeed stronger!

Good

Because today?

It truly is a Good Friday.

When the darkest, most horrific day of all time can become good, you know there’s more to the story.

The most bitter? It’s turned sweet with what’s to come.

Quieting down, remembering these words today. And letting this song wash over anew.

White as Snow

On our journey with Christ to the Cross, just this today.

Won’t you just now pause, and still in His love? Just quietly hear the Savior’s voice?

Because what was owed has been paid. What was broken has been made whole.

And what was crimson stained, that’s been washed as white as snow.

Plates

Because you and I?

We need to hear it daily.

This Gospel thing, it was meant to be approached and chewed on and digested in increasing measure. Not just a once for salvation pondering.

Listen, someone had to die.

So in these days leading to the Cross, won’t you just lend an hear, and hear the love of a Savior?

Because what we think of Him, makes all the difference.

An Update on Life

Because, it’s been awhile!

And because we’ve been up to quite a bit these past few weeks.

And since pictures are apparently worth a thousand words, here are thousands on this last little bit of life. Enjoy!

Mini Nutella. What?

Mini Nutella. What? Awesome.

The big meltdown. Who knew there was a path under all that snow!?

The big meltdown. Who knew there was a path under all that snow!?

Bailey lovin life on the golf course behind our house!

Bailey lovin life on the golf course behind our house!

So. Much. Snow.

So. Much. Snow.

A favorite place of ours. Fondly called, Heart Cafe

A favorite place of ours. Fondly called, Heart Cafe

lovely

Lovely

Coffee and treats on a Sunday

Coffee and treats on a Sunday

Coffee. Sooooo good.

Coffee. Sooooo good.

A Kimono dressing class.

A Kimono dressing class.

Japanese tea room with friends.

Japanese tea room with friends.

Yuuummmm

Yuuummmm

Thai yummy-ness.

Thai yummy-ness.

Last bites of mango and sticky rice. Best I've had outside of Thailand!

Last bites of mango and sticky rice. Best I’ve had outside of Thailand!

Celebrating Hubby finishing MQT in record time! Probably our FAVORITE little place, New Delhi. Best Indian ever! Please just disregard the nauseating 'stache.

Celebrating Hubby finishing MQT in record time! Probably our FAVORITE little place, New Delhi. Best Indian ever! Please just disregard the nauseating ‘stache.

First time through the Mickey Dee's drive through. Hubby making ordering ice cream pure hilarity.

First time through the Mickey Dee’s drive through. Hubby making ordering ice cream pure hilarity.

He's too much and I'm so blessed! Flowers upon finishing MQT.

He’s too much and I’m so blessed! Flowers upon finishing MQT.

And then this happened..

And then this happened..

Yeap.

Yeap.

So naturally we had to get out of the house for the day.

So naturally we had to get out of the house for the day.

Visiting Shipwreck Beach on Mitsu Bay.

Visiting Shipwreck Beach on Mitsu Bay.

Beautiful.

Beautiful. First view of the ocean!

Sadly, the wrecks had recently been destroyed. Sad, sad day.

Sadly, the wrecks had recently been destroyed. Sad, sad day.

IMG_4118

We enjoyed what was left of them though

We enjoyed what was left of them though!

Snow boots on the beach. Bet you've never done that before, eh?

Snow boots on the beach. Bet you’ve never done that before, eh?

Bailey's first time in the ocean! Not sure what the waves are all about

Bailey’s first time in the ocean! Not sure what the waves are all about

She got the hang of it though

She got the hang of it though

Wild woman.

Wild woman.

And then we pretending Irish for a day.

And then we pretended Irish for a day.

So obviously if you couldn’t tell, we’ve been eating well. Annnnndd often.

Our little home is slowly but surely coming together. (More pics to come!)

There’s hope that Spring may in fact come to Misawa, even if it’s in April.

And this country we live in? It’s BEAUTIFUL. And awesome.

And we are beyond blessed and thankful for all that the Lord is doing and what He plans to do!

Remain

So this anger thing. It spews out in words. Words that come from the core of a heart. The depths of what’s already there laid bare, only revealing what has been put inside.

The overflow of the heart, it’s truest parts, exposed for all to see.

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Matthew 12: 33-35

We recognize an apple tree because, well, it bears apples. We see the deepest and hidden-most parts, that which composes the very fibers of a being by what is made known. By what is made visible. By what is revealed.

Friends, we are known by our fruit.

And if known by our fruit, doesn’t the question now become, what is it that we are storing up in ourselves? What is it that is burrowed in the deep, hidden places that inevitably presses forth to unearth itself? What really is it that we are full up of?

Because the fruit of our life will make it very clear.

And if you’re like me, aren’t we all just a bit tired of the fruit of our flesh? Aren’t we all just a bit tired of the predictability of our sinfulness? Because oh yes, we saw that one coming a mile away.

Really, aren’t we all just yearning for a bit more of the Spirit’s fruit? That He might increase and we might decrease? (John 3:30)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

And for those of us in Christ? Listen to this..

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (vs 24-25)

Since we live by the Spirit, that flesh? It’s been crucified with Christ.

He’s done the work, why do we go on living like He hasn’t?

Instead, let us keep in step with the Spirit, altering the very substance of the hidden-most parts, that which is stored up. But how?

Abide.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5

Apart from Him, nothing. Apart from Him, all our righteous acts are as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

But with Him?

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (vs 7-9)

Remain. Abide. In Him, in His Word, in His love.

Bearing fruit not of the flesh, but of His Spirit within us. Fruit that will glorify the Father. Fruit that displays what’s are our true core.

Fruit that identifies us as His.

And this abiding, this keeping in step with the Spirit?

His Spirit at work in us can wrestle out even the most ugliest of sins.

Even the gnarly sin of anger and destructive words.

And as we wrestle and remain in our Father’s love, the words of David will be on my tongue instead.

 

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

 

Overflow

Because what’s inside determines it all…

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b

Mouth speaking, communicating only what is already there, only what has been put inside it.

This overflow of the heart, bursting forth from the lips, a true revealing of what lies beneath.

And what really does lie beneath?

Won’t you just today, examine that which comes hurtling forth?

Because it’s in examination of the conjured up that the deep and the hidden is revealed.

The overflow of the heart, it’s truest parts, laid bare.

From the Same Mouth…

Dear one,

It’s like I’ve said from the beginning, I get it.

I’m right there with you on this one. This anger thing we’ve been speaking of, you are not alone.

Do you know that? You’re not alone.

Anger can express itself in a myriad of ways and if you couldn’t figure out from yesterday’s post over at (in)courage, mine happens to spew forth in the form of words. You know, those critical and destructive ones that do nothing but tear others down..

Maybe for you it’s something different. But for me, my words and mouth and really, my tongue know how to effectively craft and wield the sharp sword of anger.

So I read these words again in James 3. And really friend, just listen..

“We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” (vs 2)

Did you hear that? All of us, and in so many ways. You’re not alone!

So we put bits into the mouths of horses for obedience and use small rudders to steer large vessels and why should the tongue be any different?

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (vs 5-6)

Yikes, right?

“Man can tame all creatures, great and small “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (vs 7)

And we get this don’t we? This is something we know and see. That our tongue is a restless and powerful tool that can set so much ablaze, steering our lives down a course we  never wanted from the start.

But then there’s this…

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”  (vs 9-10)

This should not be! Why?

Because can a spring flow forth both fresh and salt water? Well, no.

And can a fig tree bear olives and a grapevine, figs? Well, no.

So how can the same mouth praise God and curse the one made in His image?

How can I praise God by thanking Him for my spouse and turn around and curse him with the very same mouth?

Friends, how can this be?

And the disconnect is obvious, right? But from where does it stem?

Maybe it lies in not seeing that difficult person, that strained relationship, or that frustrating situation as a gift.

Maybe it lies in not seeing any inconvenience or conflict or disruption as a gift and an opportunity for growth.

And maybe, it really comes down to this. Do we really believe that God working the good for those who love Him means anything else than being conformed to the image of His Son? (Romans 8:28-29)

Those people, that situation, a gift. A place of God conforming us to the image of His Son. A chance for us to submit to His birthing of righteousness within us.

Because if we really did see all as a gift from the hand of God (James 1:17), wouldn’t our tongues take on a different approach?

Instead, a mouth that is a fountain of life.  A gentle answer that turns away wrath. And just, talk that builds up.

Each of us, submitted to the inner working. Each of us, acknowledging the challenging as a gift, inviting us to a place of transformation.

Each of us, wielding a different kind of tool, boldly affirming and encouraging in a lavishing wave of grace and love.