Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday on Monday: love never fails

Jason just finished a series called “Agape,” and yesterday’s sermon was a discussion about how love never fails:

Love never fails to protect.
Love never fails to believe.
Love never fails to bring hope.
Love never fails to endure.

We reflected on how God didn’t fail to protect Adam and Eve in the garden, when he clothed them after their sin and new-found shame (Genesis 3:21). We talked about the father of the prodigal son, and how he watched for his son, believing for his return (Luke 15: 11-32), and the woman caught in the act of adultery, torn from her bed and shamed before an accusing crowd. Love paved the way for new hope as her tormentors dropped their stones (John 8). And finally, we talked about the ways that love endures. When we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we read about how we are to love:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

But what happens when we switch out “love” with our own name?

Betsy is patient, Betsy is kind. Betsy does not envy……

Immediately, we become a liar. We are not patient. We are not kind. We are jealous, boastful, proud, rude, selfish, and angry. We want revenge more than truth, and we are far from protecting anyone but ourselves.

I am reminded of times when I want to keep one foot in the kingdom of self while awkwardly attempting to plant the other in the kingdom of God. Inevitably, the kingdom of self draws me in, and it is at those times that I find myself trapped behind self-constructed walls of anger, jealousy, bitterness, and spite. Disguised as self-preservation or even personal justification, the construction of such walls causes us to lose touch with our vulnerability, and ultimately, our true identity and purpose: we were created to love as Christ loved.

Only when these walls come crumbling down are we able to find our true selves again. But the crumbling process is often painful, and few choose to endure it. It is painful to see the monumental facade we have so carefully constructed being shattered in useless, futile pieces. Afraid of what we might find, we are quick to hide our faces from seeing what is exposed once the walls have fallen. And when we peek through our hands as the dust settles, we see that the love of Christ endures, and we are loved beyond comparison. We find the beauty that exists in the deepest parts of all of us—the love of God in its purest form. When it is no longer obstructed by fear, hiding, pride, or shame, it radiates.

Wall art courtesy of hopeink.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I really do love hymns. I love to hear their stories. They remind me that I'm not alone in this journey.

I am sure of God's faithfulness today because I have seen that the God who created my body is the God who can heal it. The God who formed the very fibers of my heart is the God who can mend it. The God who wove the tapestry of my life and yours is the God who can infuse us with strength and renewal. The God who granted humankind mercy 2000 years ago on the cross is the same God who grants us new mercies each morning. And the God who brings seasons of drought is the same God who will transition that drought into new life.

And so He has.

While many hymns are born out of a particular dramatic experience, this hymn was simply the result of the author’s morning by morning realization of God’s personal faithfulness.

Thomas Obadiah Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. Without the benefit of high school or advanced training, he began his career as a school teacher at the age of sixteen, in the same country schoolhouse where he had received his elementary training.

When he was twenty-one, he became the associate editor of his home town weekly newspaper, The Franklin Favorite. Six years later he accepted Christ as his personal Savior during a revival meeting.

Later Chisholm was ordained to the Methodist ministry but was forced to resign after a brief pastorate because of poor health. Chisholm retired in 1953 and spent his remaining years at the Methodist Home for the Aged, in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

In a letter dated 1941, Mr. Chisholm wrote; “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now, although I must not fail to record the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

(1) Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

(2) Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness,
morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided-
Great is Thy faithfulness, lord, unto me!

(3) Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

(4) Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow-
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Monday, August 17, 2009


My husband turned 30 on Sunday. Dun-da-dahhhh... The big 3-0. And although I’ve only known him a fraction of his first 30 years, there are already so many things that draw me to him, that make me proud to be his wife. So, if you don’t already know my husband, here’s a glimpse into some of my favorite things about him. Happy Birthday, Jason Michael Davis. You’re my favorite.

Jason doesn’t have a sarcastic bone in his body (which I find admirable, coming from one of the queens of sarcasm and knowing that it is often used to disguise things we wouldn’t otherwise say). You can trust that what comes out of his mouth is truly what he is thinking or perceiving in that moment, and nothing else.

Even as a little guy, he was determined to fight for justice and for the protection of those he loves. He may have become quite familiar with the school principal, but he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind or to stand up for what is right.

Jason forgives. I have never met anyone who is so able to take the teaching of Jesus to “turn the other cheek” quite like Jason can. I’ve seen him take emotional and verbal beatings from people ranging from angry strangers to fellow leaders in ministry, and in the face of it all, he turns the other cheek and confesses love. When most of us would fight back with spitting words and fuming bitterness (and maybe even physical harm), Jason isn’t afraid to love the unlovable.

Jason is one of the hardest workers I know. What I admire most about his hard work is that he doesn’t just put all of his effort into his “job.” He puts just as much work into our marriage, his friendships, and our family relationships. He places such a high value on people, and feels not only the desire, but a deep sense of responsibility to live in love and as a good steward of the people and responsibilities in his life, both inside of formal ministry and out.

Jason is not afraid to admit when he is wrong. In relationships, he sees no value in being “right,” and instead seeks understanding and peace. One of the biggest challenges to this is when the other party does not place the same value on understanding, and yet even in those moments, he is capable of maintaining an objective eye. I am challenged by, and have such a deep respect for Jason because of his capability to say when he has been wrong. It is one thing to know it; it is another to confess it.

Jason does everything with his whole heart. He takes no shortcuts, and accepts nothing less than excellence from himself.

Jason loves vanilla ice cream. Kind of a silly reason to love him, right? But his love of vanilla ice cream is an example of how much he finds pure joy in simple things. He is not extravagant or discontent in nature. Jason finds happiness in the most simple things in life, and works hard to take nothing for granted.

In all reality, this list could go on for quite sometime. I really do have a great husband. His parents, and mine, have a great son. Our siblings have a great brother. Our church has a great pastor. One day, our children will have a great father.

Jason, you should be proud of the man your first 30 years have made you. I sure am proud to be your Mrs.


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