Kim Jaggers

Kim Jaggers
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Do I want God to change?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Heb 13:8


Life is made up of moments.   Some are spectacular, unforgettable, and sweet.   There are also moments you wish would never happen --those moments where the bad news comes, and you know life will forever change.   We never know what the next phone call or breaking news story will hold…indeed, life is always changing by the moment.   Some thrive on change and make their dollar marketing change whether it be in the fashion world (oh, how I miss my 80s leg warmers) or political arena.   We are a people simultaneously drawn to and running away from change.   It both excites us and terrifies us, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  


And then there is God.   He says He does not change. “Yes, yes”, we say “we know that”.  We say we take comfort in the rock-steady, unchanging nature of our God.  Yet deep down do we really believe He does not change?  Or do we, in fact, really want to believe He is changeless only about some things.   Incredibly, some rest in the fact of His unchanging love while simultaneously living as if He might have changed His view on certain sins.  Perhaps seeing the obvious problems with overpopulation and unwanted, inconvenient pregnancies, God has evolved in His views on the sanctity of life?  Perhaps, He really didn’t mean what He said in His Bible about divorce, adultery and homosexuality?  Ouch.!   Those are hard things --political things.  


But God is not a political god.   He doesn’t take an opinion poll and then take a stand.   No.  He is God and He says He does not change.   Would you really want Him to?   Would you want Him to forgive your sins and then decide you just aren’t worth it?   Would you want Him to promise you Heaven and then decide He has better options?   Don’t we desperately need to know we can count on God not to change what He has said? Would you want Him to tell you that the blood of His precious Son (that you are counting on to cover all your sins) is no longer an acceptable payment for your sin debt?  


Try as we may, we can’t have it both ways.   No, somewhere in the deepest part of us we have a desperate need to know really know God is indeed the same, yesterday, today and forever.   While He is all good, full of mercy and standing with open arms completely willing to forgive our sins—He does not redefine sin from one generation to the next.   He can’t change His nature, and we would be insane to want Him to be able to do so.   For those who call upon Him as Lord - He is also rock.   He is firm foundation in a world filled with sinking sand.   His changelessness is hope to be counted on.  He is our “true north”, and when we follow Him, we find rest for our weary, bounced-around-by-the-world and all its opinion souls. 


Prayer - Father, You are God and I am not.  Thank you.   My emotions are apt to change by the minute.   So also are the emotions of those around me.   Help me to rest in your unchanging love and follow your always-for-us ways.   Thank you that in the same passage of scripture where you tell me you will never leave me nor forsake me you also tell me you will not change (Heb 13) .   Help me to remember those truths when life gets hard, when the things I have counted on seem to fail me, help me to remember there is rest in your unchanging love.   Thank you Lord for being my rock.  Amen.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chips, Salsa and a Picture of God




My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Job 42:5



I sat trying to restrain myself from the bowl of chips and salsa when it happened.   She poked my arm and looked up at me proclaiming, “This is a picture of God.”  My four-year-old niece proudly held up her crayon drawing-- a large squiggly circle surrounded two odd-shaped, bulging eyes.   Speechless, for a moment, I thought about the holiness of The Most High God sitting on the eternal throne and the fact that no one has ever seen Him.  I knew the ancient Jews reverently hesitated to even write His name.  Yet, there she sat, smiling from ear to ear; and I believe God must have been smiling too.   “Oh, Ann Claire I know God must be so happy that you were thinking enough about Him to draw a picture of Him.  I bet you made Him smile.” She seemed satisfied with my response, but I have thought about her picture for days.


I think we all draw pictures of God.  Though many have given Him so little thought; their pictures are quite featureless.  Some base pictures on the few words heard about Him long ago in a Sunday school class or VBS.  Some base pictures on totally false information.   For many, their pictures are just copies of what others have told them their pictures should look like.   But what about you?  What does your picture look like? 


No one has seen Him, yet God’s desire is to reveal Himself to us.  How much thought have you given the God of the Universe, your Creator?  Do you desire to know Him? Do you search the Scriptures for the minutest details of His character?   Is He smiling in your picture? Or is He angry?  Are His arms wide open?   Is He laughing?  Is He far removed from you or are you walking arm and arm, talking about everything?  Do His eyes twinkle with a sense of humor (as when He called Samuel (I Sam 3))?  Is He strong, even fearsome but still approachable? Is He fortress and Father?  Is He completely loving and all good, yet simultaneously the Righteous Judge?   Does He hold you close even when you don’t understand Him (as Gideon asked in Judges 6:13, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?”) or does He turn His back and leave you alone?   Is your picture black and white or full of color and endless, unfathomable detail?   Is He your friend who is closer than a brother?  Even though you have not seen Him, can you exclaim with your heart as Job did, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (42:5)? 


Oh friend, what does your picture of God look like?  Is it based on truth from His Word and revelation of the Holy Spirit; or do you rely only on what you occasionally hear or faint recollections from long ago? Do you daily seek to add to your painting?  Do you delight in His revelations of Himself?   Do praise songs flood your heart with images you have painted of Him?   Oh yes, He is indescribable and our artwork never complete!   Truly “He is beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension.  Like nothing ever seen or heard.  Who can grasp His infinite wisdom?  Who can fathom the depth of His love?  He is beautiful beyond description!  Majesty enthroned above!” (Hillsong).    Do you stand in awe of Him?  Do you really? Or have you grown bored with a religion that has never changed your life?   You were created for relationship (real relationship) with the Living God.  Turn your eyes upon Him.   Ask Him to reveal Himself.  Ask Him to open your eyes.  He will turn the darkness into light (Isa 42:16), vibrant, full of color, revealing-Himself light.   He promises if you seek Him with all your heart you will find Him. (Jer 29:13)… get your crayons ready!  The big box!


Prayer:  Oh Father, may our hearts never grow cold.  May we desire to daily know you better.  May we pursue you through your Word.  Help me to rise above the distractions of this life and help me to see You in this day.   Open my eyes to your infinite goodness.   Help me to praise you more.   Oh God, I know my picture of you can never contain your marvelous majesty…yet, I want to see you.   You are God with us.  Most High Amazing God with me!  Let me say in this life “my ears had heard of you, but now my eyes see you.”!  Amen.  


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Thursday, March 21, 2013

What I really want for my kids


The fear of the Lord leads to life and he who has it will abide in satisfaction. Prov 19:23

It was that “something else” in others that first drew me to a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Although in church all my life, I had been a slave to up and down emotions; falling apart over trivial things, while I watched others stand strong through tragedies. They had peace that made no sense to me. I wanted that. I finally found lasting peace when Jesus became more than a story to me – when I asked Him to be Lord of my life, and when I stepped out in faith to obey Him even when my emotions said do something else. It was and is a growing process. There are days when I trust Him like the hero He is, and there are other days when I beg Him moment by moment to remind me of His faithfulness and truth. I have found Him to be faithful even when I am faithless (2 Tim 2:13). I know He carries me when I am weak--constantly giving hope and peace sufficient for whatever life brings.

I want this same satisfaction for my kids, yet I cannot simply tell them about it. I know faith is a personal thing to possess that must grow in them just as it grows in me. I also know my faith and my love for Jesus grew the most when it was tested by trial and tragedy….and deep down I know the same is true for them. This is why I know my job is not to rescue my kids from every trial they face, but to point them to the Rock who will be their hope, strength and direction… all the days of their life, and long after I am gone. This hard truth has changed my prayers for my kids. I used to pray “momma prayers” – “keep them safe, help them to do well in school, help them to get along with others” and on and on. Yet, my Holy-Spirit-inspired desire for them to love God more than anything, and be blessed by all that brings, has prompted me to ask Him to take them through whatever it takes to know He is enough when all else seems to fail them. That is a hard prayer to pray and especially hard when I see God answering it. Yet, I know if my kids learn at an early age that He is their rock; they will have a steadfast faith that is not easily shaken by life’s ups and downs. They will have peace, hope and joy which is not dependent on their circumstances. They will rest in the freedom that comes from living their lives to please God rather than chasing all the empty things this life has to offer.

Saying all that is one thing. Living it is entirely another. Every fiber of my momma heart wants to rescue my kids from pain. Sometimes I am to do just that, yet other times my job is to stand back and pray… and the only way I know the difference is by staying at the feet of my Savior who loves my children much more than I ever could. I trust Him so much more than I trust me, not only for my life, but for theirs.

Prayer: Oh Jesus, You are the Rock. Your Word is true. Your presence is peace. I want more than anything for my kids to love You above all else. I pray they will give You glory all the days of their lives. I know You can sustain them when all else seems to fail them. I know You alone can give them real hope, real joy and real peace. May I stay so connected to You that I know moment by moment how to best point them to truth. And give me the courage to ask You to take my children through whatever it takes to love you first… because You love them most. Your plans for them are exceedingly abundantly more than (even their momma) could ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). Please be their abiding satisfaction. Thank you Lord. Amen.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

When you can't believe they did that...



You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth

Psalm 31:5


Disappointed and sad could only begin to describe the way I felt after learning one of my kids had made a really stupid, sinful decision.   Something happened that I wish had never happened, yet God was at work.  He brought conviction, confession and repentance.   Yet, true to form, the enemy was also at work.  He is called the accuser (Rom 12:10), but I believe he is also the reminder.   While our merciful Father tells us our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12), the enemy continually tries to remind us where we have fallen; and, if we aren’t careful, we as parents can aid him in this devious task.   


While I knew my child was forgiven, my disappointment lingered; and I had to give this to God, and ask Him to help me not remind my child of the sin.   Of course, I don’t want my child to repeat the sin.   But God helped me see the enemy wants my child to believe he/she is “repeater” (so they will repeat the sin); but God wants us to focus on the fact that we are forgiven and redeemed.   The Bible says as “a man thinks so he is”(Prov 23:7); and if we aren’t careful we will allow the accuser, the father of all lies, to walk us right back to old sin by telling us: “since you messed up once you always will” or, “since you fell to this temptation once already you can’t resist again” and on and on.  


For my children, for me, and for you--truth is freedom.   When we confess and turn from sin our chains are gone.  Really gone.  We have been set free.  There is no need to once again be yoked to the chain of slavery.   We have to take every (yes every) thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and know there is power in what Jesus did for us on that cross!   So, when the enemy, the reminder, brings thoughts of old sins to our minds (those of ourselves or those of others) – we have to do spiritual battle. We will find strength and cause the enemy to flee when the thought of confessed sin only reminds us to praise God for His deliverance.   Because of our Savior, we are not what we have done!  Because of His great mercy, He remembers our sin no more and neither should we… except to praise Him.  As a man thinks so he is…as our children think so they will be.   Forgiven means forgiven and the opportunity to walk forward with a clean slate.  Does that not cause you to praise our LORD? 


I don’t know about you, but I know my sins have been many.  Those I love have sinned as well, but God’s Word says let no man call unclean what God has called clean (Acts 10:15).   I know the enemy would have me believe I am a sinner who will always mess up, and repeat the same sins over and over.   But God tells me a different story- the enemy has only the power that I give him; and I don’t want to give him any.  So when the thoughts of my sins or the sins of others come to my mind… I will praise the One who set me free, who calls me clean, who died for me!!!


Prayer:  Oh Father, my mind cannot conceive the depths of your mercy and grace.  I know I do not deserve your forgiveness, but you freely offer it because of the blood of your precious Son.   May the remembrance of my confessed, repented sins and the sins of others only cause me to praise you more.  May the enemy, the accuser, the reminder, flee because of the power of your blood.   I love you Lord.  May I love you more tomorrow than I love you today.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sell all that you have!

Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.

Luke 18:22



I’ve pondered over that verse for years.   Certainly, God has called us to give monetarily to the poor.  But today my eyes seemed to come to a screeching halt when I read the phrase, “all that you have”.   The word “all” seemed to blink like a neon sign.  Could it be that God gives us permission to own things but simultaneously asks us to possess nothing?  I wonder if He is asking us to regularly evaluate our lives to make sure we are not clinging too tightly to the things we have and, quite possibly, even throws tests our way on occasion.


Just this morning, as I went about my routine of straightening up my house, God gave me the opportunity for self evaluation as I discovered that one of my children had left a glass on my beautiful dining room table overnight.  Now, an ugly water ring has permanently scarred my lovely table.  Just as I rubbed my fingers over the damage, the offending child walked into the room.  Choking back a verbal assault, I instead mumbled, “Give Mom just a minute”.  In that moment, God reminded me that I cherish my child much more than any wooden object.   God comforted my heart and calmed my fury.  He offered me an opportunity to show grace.   He reminded me that life is full of scars, but it is also full of joy that comes from relationships with people and not from possessing things that will one day be destroyed by moth and rust (Matt 6:19).   Matthew 6:21 goes on to say, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”   I talked to my child about being more careful, but by God’s grace, I didn’t explode.  Remembering, God’s precious Word “in the moment” prevented a different kind of scar because I would never want my kids to doubt they are my treasure and mean more to me than any earthly possession ever could. 


Since the beginning of time, mankind has clung to worthless idols.   Oh, we may have stopped carving little men to worship, but we can quickly fall into treasuring things that don’t really matter.  A long time ago, my kids sang a song at VBS.   The lyrics said, “Don’t bow down to idols.  Idols don’t love you.”  How true.   Instead, may we store up real treasures in Heaven.  May we live our lives focusing on eternal things and not confuse real treasures with empty material possessions that can never love us back.   May we daily remember God’s precious Word; and submit to His will in the trials, the tests, and the triumphs.  


Prayer:  Father, help me see those things in my life that I am tempted to let possess me.   Help me to see the eternal and care less about the temporal.  Please keep me from allowing worthless idols to steal my joy or cause others pain.  Help me to possess nothing.   Help me to love others deeply and show grace as You have shown me.  Thank you Lord for your precious Word.  Help me to follow you in all things.  Amen.