More Than Enough

Whatever vision God gives us is more than enough to accomplish His purpose.

Even if we can’t see our hand in front of our face, it is enough.

However much time we have for Him today is much more than enough if we give it away.

Whoever is willing to worship Him, only Him, in spirit and truth, gets the job He’s always posting.

Whatever part of truth we’re willing to see today is more than enough to light the path He gives us.

However much we delight ourselves in Him is more than enough for the desires of our heart to come true.

Whoever kneels down as a camel to roll his own burden off his back receives more than enough to thrive.

The key is so simple, so natural and clear, hiding in plain sight in the palm of our hand.

We mostly look elsewhere for what is always right here.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good.

Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4

Whoever does just that without worrying that we’re not getting it right gets it right because it’s not ours to get right; it’s His.

Wherever He leads, whatever He says, however it works, His will is more than enough.

Amen and amen.

I Have No Strength

My weakness is always before me, taunting me, telling me I can’t do that. But God’s grace surrounds even my weakness, deadening those taunts. Even though I have no strength of my own, my friend and Savior Jesus increases my strength. I had none before He came to save me, and still, on my own have none. But as He lives through me, His strength becomes mine. Although the taunts are true, the truth of my salvation trumps them, cancelling the taunt with the higher truth: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29.

Amen and amen.

Plan

With the new year come many new plans. Personally, I have rejoined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time. Don’t worry. I am not plugging any program here. I am only being honest about what’s going on with me. When I have followed the WW plan in the past (instead of the Ellen plan), I have felt my healthiest, most energetic and satisfied best, which always leads me to the question of why I don’t just stay on it? But that is far beyond this post.

I also have a few other plans for this year. The biggest is that I am finishing a novel that will be published later this year. I have been writing it for over four years now. I decided late last year that it’s high time to let it go. My part is to write and finish the story. When it’s published, the result will be out of my hands.

However, I’m mostly trying to keep myself focused on God’s plan instead of my own for everything I do. I have had to learn, over and over, that when I put myself first, thinking mostly about what benefits me and makes me comfortable, I get lazy, fat, miserable, and depressed. But if I focus on God and His love for me and others, I feel hope and joy. Not the fleeting happiness that comes and goes even more quickly based on the whim of changing circumstances. The joyful peace that surpasses understanding.

This morning, as I began to make my “to do” list for the weekend, I read Romans 12 because this chapter, particularly verses 1-2 and 21, have intrigued and challenged me for decades. I urge you to find your Bible and read these verses. If you don’t have one, get one. If you can’t get one, let me know. I will find a way to get one to you.

Here is what jumped off the page to me today: “…plan your life around the noblest way to benefit others.” Romans 12:17 (The Passion Translation) I wept with joy reading those words because that is what I want to do even though it seems ridiculously beyond my ability. And where do I come off thinking any plan of mine could ever be noble?! But that’s it! If I make the plan, it fails. If I submit my plans to God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct them, then they will be noble in the truest sense of the word: excellent, worthy, gracious, great-hearted.

That’s the plan. What’s yours?

For the Love of Pete!

I don’t know who this Pete fellow is, but please, ladies, we’ve got to stop trying to look 25 when we’re 65. Yes, I’m on a bit of a rant, but you all know what I’m talking about–women (and some men) who won’t accept that they we all look different as we get older. I’m not talking about trying to be your healthiest best. I’m talking about radically and usually surgically, desperately trying to show the world a face that doesn’t exist anymore. And in trying so hard to look like someone we no longer are, we lose out on the real beauty that only comes with age.

We’ve all seen the aging actresses who’ve bought into the Hollywood lie that they have to look like a Barbie doll to get parts, with the result being a face that should only appear in a movie about the Joker from Batman. This is the extreme example that comes from an exclusive environment most of us don’t live in. But how many of us have also bought into the lie that we’re not as good, pretty, useful, or interesting because we have wrinkles and age spots?

Come on! Let’s get real. Every year we live, if we’re willing, we get the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. By now, at age 62, I have the equivalent of several Ph.D’s in mistake correction. And I am done buying into the lie that I should try to look younger than my actual age. I earned these crows feet and laugh lines and intend to be grateful for who I am today. Even more, I plan to embrace my true self–every pudgy-bulged, thick-ankled, puffy-eyed square inch of me–as I get older every year.

I firmly believe that if we older women would embrace our real, true, authentic beauty, we could teach the world that beauty is ageless. Every year we live is a gift. We’re all just a flash away from going to meet our maker, and down deep, everyone knows that’s true. We don’t have a second to waste on the futility of trying to stop time. Instead, let’s start a revolution that proudly says, “I once was young (sigh) (head hung low), but now I’m old!” (glee in our voices, heads held high, smiles on our beautiful old faces, and twinkles in our eyes). Psalm 37:25.

Pete will be so proud.

Amen and amen.

Persist

Jesus teaches those who follow Him to pray. Praying as He teaches means to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking on that door you want opened. Luke 11. To persist in prayer is to ask boldly and urgently and to not give up.

The need to persist is ours alone. Our Father God does not need us to repeat a single prayer. We can’t manipulate Him into doing what we want by turning up the volume of our whining or throwing a fit like a frustrated toddler. He knows all we need before we ask. Matthew 6:8. He knows far more about us than we know ourselves. Matthew 10:30.

Persistence is necessary for us because every cry of our heart for something we want or someone we love has at its core a lesson we desperately need to learn. Sometimes the lesson is to unlearn a lie we thought was the truth. Often, He shows us another delightful aspect of who He is. He blesses us most richly when we learn who we really are in Him, His beloved children.

When we keep praying for that need that never seems to be fulfilled, we build our faith as we wait on God to do what only He can. Isaiah 40:27-31. If we don’t give up on God, our prayer in the waiting gives us wings to soar above our sorrow. When we keep praying for what we know God wills, He strengthens our legs to willingly run toward the fire of doubt and confusion until we break through into fire-quenching truth. As we simply trust in the provision of His goodness, He holds our hand, giving us endurance to walk across the longest, loneliest desert and through the darkest, most evil forest.

Having persisted in prayer, the answer comes swiftly, suddenly, and so naturally we could easily miss it if our hope was not settled on God. When we have persisted, God’s answer is always exceedingly, abundantly better than anything we could have ever thought of or dared ask for. Ephesians 3:20.

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3.

Amen and amen.

Be Perfect?

Jesus commands us to do what He knows is impossile for us: “Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.” Matthew 5:48, TPT.  But it’s not the result He’s after so much as the process. The command is for us to seek to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him and all of the people He has connected us to.

In 1 John 3:10-15, we learn about the imperative of love. How it works is seen in the contrast. When we fail or refuse to love even our brothers, other Christians that live and work and attend church and school with us, our immediate family of God, then we die spiritually. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love” our brothers and sisters in Christ. But if we can’t or won’t love them, we abide in death. 1 John 3:14, NKJV.

Now if we allow our feelings and emotions to run rampant, indulging in hate, then we are guilty of murder. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15, NKJV.

Jesus doesn’t stop there though. If we want to follow Him, we can’t limit our love to our friends and those who act and think and believe like us. We must love our enemies. Jesus unambiguously commands us: “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44, NKJV.

This is the work of our lifetime, to seek to be perfect, whole, balanced, not doing those things we know are wrong, but quick to recognize our faults and ask forgiveness; allowing the Spirit of the One who sacrificed His life for each of us, while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), essentially still His enemies, to guide and direct our lives.

Each choice to love someone, especially those who hate and mistreat us, makes us more like God, who is perfect. We won’t fully attain this goal this side of heaven, but we will have joy for the journey. Practice makes perfect.

Amen and amen.

The Multitude

In Luke 5:15, as in several other places in the New Testament, we learn about the “great multitudes” that came out to hear Jesus so they would be healed of their infirmities. Most of us then and now just want God in our lives so He can fix something for us, often something we’ve broken ourselves. Even those of us who have been saved and want a deep relationship with God too easily choose to live separated from Him.

If we want God to be nothing more than a repairman, if we speak to Him only as a 9-1-1 call, then at best we forfeit His most delightful, satisfying blessings. What we want is to get what we want from Him and then move on to live our lives without interference. Mostly, if we claim to be Christian, we have to admit, if we’re honest, that we treat God like an elderly parent who we hope to inherit lots of money from but rarely visit, and when we do, it’s only because we have to.

God allows that kind of shallow connection, but it is an exceedingly dangerous way to live. Not only do we miss out on the deepest joy and most sustaining peace, we risk all of eternity separated from God. On many occasions, Jesus warned His followers about the danger of not loving Him enough to want to know and do God’s will. His most terrifying statement is, “I never knew you; depart from Me…” Matthew 7:23.

Thank God, though, there’s hope for rebels and fools like me. When we realize that we’re standing in the mob, wanting only what God can do for us like spoiled, selfish children, we don’t have to stand with them, yelling, “Crucify Him!” Instead, in that moment, we can ask Him to forgive us and turn our hearts back toward Him. His mercies are new every morning: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:23.

Amen and amen.

 

Fully Human

Jesus was fully human and fully God

all at once throughout His lifetime

until His death on the cross.

And then, His human body was fully dead,

but His Spirit lived on,

even before we were able to see Him

outside of the tomb.

 

The Scriptures tell us

He did battle with Satan and won

while we still thought Him dead, entombed.

 

Before the cross

came Gethsemane,

where Jesus fought with His humanity.

His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

He longed for friends to watch and pray and stay with Him.

But even that smallest request

was too much for even His closest friends

who could not stay awake, even for an hour.

 

In that garden, in both His humanity and diety,

Jesus saw both the torture and the victory;

He knew the earthly pain and heavenly glory to come.

His earthly humanity rose up against that unbearable pain

of flesh and Spirit;

the nails piercing flesh and crushing bones

was nothing compared to

the seering torment of His Father turning away,

His heart ripping hatefully from His chest

and our sins marching in with sickness and wicked evil

and hate and pride and selfishness and everything

unholy poisoning and ripping Him to shreds.

 

He saw it all

alone, with no friends to comfort

or even sit by His side.

Knowing all too well,

He asked for what His humanity

and ours always desires,

“Take this cup from me.”

None of us, even Jesus in His humanity,

want our part in the kingdom

to include suffering.

 

Like Jesus, we know,

if He’s graced us to know,

that all things are possible

for our Father in heaven.

But here in our humanity

we rarely if ever

truly say and mean what Jesus said and meant:

“Not what I will,

but what You will.”

That is the process of life,

the work of our decades,

the ultimate going-home goal.

Amen and amen

(from Mark 14:32-42 NKJV)

For my Grandchildren

May the love of our Father God,

who has infused us with love for our children,

pass unbroken from all those who loved

my Grandma, Anna Lupeny Jenkins,

down the line to my parents,

MaMa Betty and Elmo Jenky,

to me and the father of our children,

and be strengthened as it flows through my sons,

Josh and Jake,

and on to their children and children’s children,

from everlasting to everlasting.

“But Lord, Your endless love

stretches from one eternity to the other,

unbroken and unrelenting

toward those who fear you

and those who bow facedown in awe before You.

Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise You’ve made

passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren,

and beyond.” Psalm 103:17 (TPT)

Amen and amen.


	

Water of Life

In the mornings when I wake up
I often have pervasive, eager hope,
not for anything in particular
but for something I cannot see
bubbling under the surface,
charging the air with electricity.
This hope comes from the Holy Spirit;
I could not feel it until Jesus baptized me with Him.
This hope has nothing to do with the circumstances of life;
it comes as it may without reason or rhyme.
It is the hope that springs 
from the river of living water
flowing through me;
water for others
but also for me,
water to cleanse
and carry us along,
water of life
so our souls may live and not die,
water to swim and play in as the otters
and water to swim upstream against as the salmon.
Water of hope, carry me along
to my appointed destiny.