If you have been following this blog for a while, you may remember I published the autobiographical devotional book here a few months ago. As I sat praying through a Scripture recently, God drew my attention to one Word in particular. To “prove” yourself doers of the Word, it turns out, can also mean to “become, emerge, transition from one point to another, come to know.”
It’s then, as I went back and began to read the book again that I saw how much the beauty of who Jesus is to me, in me and for me is still covered over and hidden. I noticed how much Jesus has been growing me in boldness and humility since then and this longing rose in me to prove myself a doer (also means poet or author) of the Word, by not hiding the light I’ve been given, but shining it brightly so that Jesus might be seen and glorified.
So in honor of this longing He has given me, I am going to republish an edited version of this book, piece by piece, as He leads me to: starting with the book proposal here, to give you a taster of what’s to come. I probably won’t be publishing something every day, but it’s all in God’s faithful hands and timing.
Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face
Come read the true story of how Jesus picked up a little lost lamb, caught in the thorn bush of her accuser, to carry her home, close to His heart. Come feel Jesus drawing your own heart closer to His heart, as you read of Him holding Anna tight through it all. Come taste and see His goodness to you and your (prodigal) loved ones, as He reveals Himself to Anna and opens her heart to know and trust Him, more and more.
Come be awed by His steadfast love for His whole Body, as He unfolds His life in and through Anna and you. Let each chapter that testifies to Christ’s restorative and redemptive work, invite you too into seeing and celebrating the compassion and courage of Jesus at work in your loved ones and in yourself. Be inspired and moved to recognize and celebrate Jesus, where you never have before.
As you read along, may you feel the hand of Jesus reaching out to take ahold of your hand and your loved ones’ hands. May He uncover our hunger and thirst to be seen, known and loved by Him and may He fill us to overflowing with more and more of Himself.
May He compel us to confess our sins freely to each other, and to pray for one other that He might heal our hearts and make us One in Him. For Jesus, our righteous and just King, who is ever interceding before the throne of grace for us, in us and through us, shall see the reward for His suffering. His righteous prayers shall prevail.
Privileged to grow up watching God’s heart at work in her missionary parents, Anna loved her Savior with great passion. She even dreamed of one day following in her parents’ footsteps. But when something painful began to unfold in her home that she struggled to understand, this passionate Jesus follower began to harden her heart in distrust, hiding her fear and her pain from the One she had once trusted the most.
Anna condemned herself in her sin, as Satan hurled Scriptures at her to convince her she no longer belonged to Jesus. And so began her descent into more than twenty years of blindness to God’s steadfast and immovable love in her and for her. But little did she realize, her Good Shepherd had never left her side or her heart, and was in fact carrying her into His greater plans and purposes, laboring to birth a newborn faith in her.
More than twenty years later, He opened Anna’s eyes to see, as He showered her in compassion during one of the most painful times of her life. As Anna began to pray for answers to her wayward turning, not understanding how she could have become so blind, Jesus fed her the living testimony of Peter. Christ’s unspoken and spoken Word to Anna, turned her life and her thinking upside down.
Her Heavenly Father gave her the unusual task of looking for tangible evidence of His Presence with her at every point of her prodigal journey. He commanded her to stop weeping bitter tears focused on herself and her failings, and to instead see and celebrate Jesus.
There, with her eyes opening to His workmanship, she began to see His face reflected in her own and in those He had been surrounding her with, her whole life long: the lost, hungry and thirsty sheep just like herself, in whom His Promise of salvation lay hidden, waiting to be awakened, piece by piece.
The lost and yet seen and known of God, who are now growing Anna’s faith and trust in her Savior like never before. The promised ones of God, who are healing her prodigal past, as she sees the beauty of Jesus – and His sure and steadfast Word to us – unfolding through them.
God showed Anna that, just as with Peter, her sifting like wheat was ordained by Him to humble her, free her and prepare her for His irrevocable calling upon her life. All along He was leading her into His death and resurrection. He was busily giving Anna concrete evidence for His promise to us all, that He remains faithful in our faithlessness because “he cannot deny himself” in us (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV).
At the end of each chapter, come join Anna in sitting with a short portion of Scripture. Come to the feet of Jesus with Anna, expecting Him to uncover and meet the deepest yearnings of your heart. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened to you, our God reminds us.
So, come, let’s look for and celebrate the heart of courage and compassion being birthed and unfolded in us and the whole Body of Christ, ever more. Come, let’s Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face.
PRIMARY MARKET –
Hungry and thirsty souls.
FELT NEED –
I felt the need to write this book after I watched God fill parents and grandparents of prodigals with such hope through my testimony. I watched as one mother’s eyes filled with tears of joy, as she began to see her prodigal son in my story. I saw Jesus reminding her that He sees and knows her and her son intimately, and that nothing can thwart His irrevocable plans and purposes for our lives.
I also marveled at the memories God began to recover in many other parents and grandparents, who began to see the fingerprints of Jesus, where they hadn’t noticed them before – both in their own stories and in the lives of their children and grandchildren. I saw Jesus reminding us all, through His hand upon my own life, that “No one comes to the Father except through” Him (John 14:6 ESV). That “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25 ESV).
Sharing my testimony reminded me, parents and grandparents of prodigals that Christ honors our drawing near as children in response to His calling. For, like He did for Peter, who recognized Jesus as his Messiah before his three denials, because the Father revealed it to him, our LORD prayed for each one of us, even before the enemy began to sift us like wheat.
As parents and grandparents have shared their own stories with me, and I have shared my own story with them, we have witnessed the LORD lifting our burdens. As our cries and tears have mingled with the Word of God and His living testimony in us and our loved ones, the incense of Christ’s intercession has been rising ever more in us.
God has been transforming our fears and pain into faith and rejoicing. Praise and worship has been flowing forth from our hearts and lips, as Jesus has been cleansing us of sin. It is not we, but He who has been opening our ears and the eyes of our hearts to recognize and receive Him in ourselves and in those so very dear to our hearts.
I now invite you, wherever you are in the world, to join me and my dear friends to Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face. Come, let’s invite the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to behold the beauty of Christ glowing in us and our loved ones. May praise pour forth from our lips, as we each bow low before the LORD our God in trembling awe of His goodness to us all.
May Jesus be glorified in us all! Oh how we love You!
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!Psalm 139: 1-18 ESV
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.