Category: thoughts by Idelette McVicker

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You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are, no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matthew 5:5 (MSG)

Contentment. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, to be contented is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.” This past summer I watched neighbors buy luxury SUV’s and new furniture and paint their homes. Some have elaborate play structures in their backyards; others are constantly remodelling. For the first time in my life, I had to come face to face with the notion of “keeping up with the Jones’s.” At the same time, I’ve  read Raising Kids for True Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel.

My inner world felt turbulent as I grappled with my own notions of success. How do I define a successful life? Is that really what God calls me to? Instead, Kimmel suggests, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps and aim for true greatness. It’s still hard when you watch what feels like an entire neighborhood marching to a different drummer. Recently I caught a snippet of a radio broadcast on our local Christian station. One of the speakers shared how his children were constantly saying, “It’s not fair.” He challenged them through the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20) to realize that when we compare our lives with others, we lose our contentment. Instead we focus on what we have and turn our hearts to gratitude. “Comparison ruins contentment,” he added. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. In our home, we have decided to follow Jesus and follow the beat of His heart. What a relief not to have to live up to any other expectations.

Reflection:

– What moves you out of your place of contentment?
– What are you grateful for today?

Dear Lord, Thank You that You are my shepherd and I have everything I need. Your love covers me, lifts me and fills me. Today, again, I choose to dance to the beat of Your heart. I love You, Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

In my daughter’s preschool, they learned this song early on: “Let’s make room for our friends”. The school’s philosophy is clear: they foster an environment where students learn inclusivity. They make space for each other. I’ve watched the children grow into this atmosphere. On the playground after school or on occasions when we have gone out in a group, they all romp together. They naturally gravitate towards certain friends, but it is not at the cost of other friends. Each child is respected. No one is left behind.

Let’s make room for our friends” has become a philosophy in our home too. When the neighborhood kids or other friends come over, we make sure we include everyone, especially the younger ones.

Jesus came to make room for each one of us. He came, so as a family of God, we make room for each other. How ironic that right from the start, there was no room for the Prince of Heaven. His life defied this exclusion and He opened doors. He still knocks on the doors of closed hearts. “I stand at the door and knock,” He says. He moves right into the tight places we create around the marginalized. He makes space for each of us. We can love in His welcome and in turn, open doors for others.

Reflect:
Have you made room for Jesus today?
Where do You need Jesus to make room for you?
Where are you called to make room for someone else?

Thank You, Lord, that You have prepared a place for me. Even when life may exclude me, You are there, right beside me.

By Idelette McVicker
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“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 21:6 (NKJ)

An eighty-something-year-old beautiful woman of God reminded me of one of the keys to living a Divinely inspired life: praising God in the midst of the most difficult, un-Kingdom-like circumstances.

At a time when she was feeling very stuck—hopeless even—she heard the whisper of God: “When you start praising Me, I will bring them in.”

What am I going to praise You for?” she thought. “Everything I see is a mess.

For who I am,” came the answer.

She started doing exactly that: praising God for who God is, not for the circumstances she saw all around her. She focused on the character and nature of God, not the fragments of relationships and human emotions scattered everywhere. She started singing in the midst of her trouble and one by one God began to pick up the pieces … God, our amazing, faithful God, proved true to the promise.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for who You are: faithful, loving, patient, great, kind, compassionate, just … I look to You today and I praise You for who You are. Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
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This is my body, given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (NIV)

I remember waking up in a narrow twin bed. I was at a women’s retreat: two nights away from home, with time to spend with God in the company of other women. It was still early. I reached for my Bible and opened it to Luke chapter 22. I heard the women in the hallways, getting ready for the day. There was cheerful chatter and noise that can only happen at a women’s retreat where thirty women have to share bathrooms and hairdryers.

I was still reading when the Spirit stopped me in my tracks:

This is my body, given for you;
This is my body, given for you;
This is my body, given for you!

The words rang in my ears as I heard the sound of the women in the background. Thoughts and emotions collided. This is my body given for you. These were members of our church “the Body of Christ” and they too were given to me. I had always thought only of Christ’s physical body and His offering when taking communion. For the first time, I felt the sacred gift in the presence of my fellow members of the Body. These are the people we share our lives with, our community. A gift to everyone who is willing to partake.

By Idelette McVicker
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Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

Advent marks the season of preparation and waiting. In a sense, it is our taking part in the pregnancy of the Christ child, carrying our part of His story. We prepare our hearts to receive Him; for Him to be born into our humble and broken lives.

It struck me today that as we prepare for Christmas, our hearts focused on the birth of our Savior, in a greater sense we are also participating in a kind of Advent season every other day of the year. Whether it’s Christmas season or not, we are preparing for the return of Christ. We are preparing our hearts for Jesus to come again. Our world is pregnant with His return.

Reflect:

Is your heart ready to receive Him at this time in history?

Where are you making room for Christ this season?

Prayer:

Come, Lord Jesus, come … Help me prepare my heart as a welcoming place that receives You today and every day to come.

By Idelette McVicker
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Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.”  Psalm 54:2

Once, after walking the streets of the most destitute area in our city, I asked a friend who lives there as a missionary about taking a person through the process of coming into freedom. As a couple, my missionary friends have spent their lives working with people who want to grow whole in Christ.

Knowing my own healing journey, I could hardly imagine the time and commitment required for someone who has suffered deep trauma and beyond.

He said that once, while in prayer, his wife felt God saying that the hours and hours they put in for someone to be set free is so they would appreciate when Freedom comes in an instant.

I look forward to the day when we can all be healed and well in an instant. In the meantime, I look forward to appreciating the miracle as we put in the work and the love.

Thank you, Jesus, for taking us through the process of life. We long for your healing and your renewal of all your people, however you choose to pour it out on us. May your Kingdom come. We love you, Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
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Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Earlier this year I visited the former Berlin wall. I found a segment that was kept in tact for historic purposes and I stood there and prayed. What once seemed so impossible, happened. The wall came down! What once seemed indestructible, crumbled.

One of the inscriptions at the Wall Museum reads,

It was the first wall in history to be built around an entire city and nearly around an entire country.” And Michael Gorbachev said, “The wall not only embodies the split in Europe but in the entire world.”

Standing at this physical wall reminded me of the walls we carry within ourselves. The walls we build in our heart by holding on to things like unforgiveness and anger, separate us from God. Walls between ourselves and others keep us from experiencing the fullness of relationship.

Standing at the wall, however, filled me with hope. Here was a very vivid picture that walls can come down. Besides, Jesus came to break down the walls that keep us from experiencing life to the full. He offered His life to be spilled out and broken, so that we can get break through walls and walk in freedom and the fullness of the Kingdom of God.

Reflect: Which walls do I see as insurmountable?

Lord, thank You for giving me hope. Please help me to break through the walls in my heart and the walls that oppose my relationships. Help me to walk in freedom and experience all You have for me today.

By Idelette McVicker
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Comfort in Times of Uncertainty


“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23: 4
(NIV)

I drove home through thick fog tonight. There have been fog patches around our home and in the area these past two weeks. I hardly ever drive through thick mist without thinking about my relationship with God.  It becomes such a tangible representation of our faith journey through life and how dependent we are on our Guide to lead us every step of the way. How easily I could get caught up in Fear, forgetting what a faithful Shepherd we have. He is a loving God who never changes. He guides us through the foggy times and dances with us when the sun shines. Our Lord is, after all, the Light of the world and He is never far away.

Reflect: Where do you find comfort in times of uncertainty?

Prayer:
Lord, you are such a faithful Shepherd. Thank you for leading me in “paths of righteousness,” especially when life seems uncertain.

by Idelette McVicker
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The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need.” Psalm 23:1 (NLT)

I started a 40-day fast, abstaining from spending, acquiring and shopping. Thankfully my husband eagerly accepted the challenge to shop for groceries and necessities.

Although as a woman I enjoy shopping, I realized early on that the fast isn’t about shopping. Instead it’s about a deep desire to be clear about how God is calling our family to live. I want to decide from a core understanding, rather than follow the ways of everyone around me. I don’t want to be shepherded by the strength of marketing. I want to follow the One true Shepherd.

These past 20 days I have found that I have a lot more “space and time” to think through what is truly important to our family. I am not busy acquiring, gathering and storing. Instead, I am planning for what we really need, while being creative in how to use what we already have.

Dear Lord, Thank you for being my Shepherd. Thank you for being our Provider. May I never forget that everything good and beautiful and perfect comes from you. Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
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What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.”  Matthew 20:32

It might seem kind of obvious that when two blind men call out to Jesus for mercy that they want to be healed. But Jesus stops, calls them closer, and asks them directly, “What do you want me to do for you?

I have noticed, sometimes, when I’m sitting by the side of life’s road, crying out to Jesus for mercy, he stops, calls me closer and asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”

It’s one of those questions that clears the cobwebs. It cuts through to the core issue. After all, if I’m enlisting the Creator of the Universe on my behalf, I’d better know what I want.

How am I really feeling? What’s the real issue here? What do I need from God today?

There is power in clarifying your true need. And there’s power in bringing it before the throne of grace.

Today, what do you need Him to do for you? Ask for what you need – even when it seems kind of obvious. Ask. And watch how He moves heaven and earth on your behalf.

Dear God, Please help me be clear about what I really need and want. Thank you, that when I ask, you listen. Help me see the power of your hand upon my life, even today. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrong.” Proverbs 10:12

I am in a season of life when I am confronted daily with the idea that I am, well, not perfect. I am making a lot of mistakes and pray for grace constantly. That’s when I started thinking about my own upbringing and what made the difference. In spite of the humps and bumps of growing up, my mom’s love carried me through. Did she make mistakes? Yes. Was she perfect? No. Did she show me an amazing love, rooted in an unshakable faith? Absolutely.

In Proverbs 10:12 we read, “love covers all wrongs” We find the New Testament version in 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” It’s a spiritual principle that gives me a fresh perspective on parenting, relationships and doing life well. The amazing power of Love means that even when I make mistakes, as long as my Love is even greater, I am covered. No wonder Jesus breaks the commandments down to this one action: Love.

Reflection:
How big is your Love?
Where do you need the power of Love to cover your sins and your mistakes?

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank You for covering my life with Your amazing Love. Grant me the grace to love well, so those in my world will remember my love, rather than my mistakes. Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
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I love that the Son of God didn’t seek out only environments and places to visit worthy of his heavenly identity. After all, his very act of coming meant exchanging heaven for a human life on earth. He deliberately chose simple environments, like a stable, to display the power of the Kingdom of God. For me, his visit to the Pool of Bethesda stands out. It was a place where “a great number of disabled people used to lie, the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.” (John 5:1-3) It struck me that this was probably not the most hygienic place around.

Imagine the smell. Most of these people couldn’t make it to the bathroom on their own. I imagine most regular people didn’t frequent this pool and yet Jesus chose to enter into this humble environment and bring healing.

Who and what do I surround myself with? Which places do I frequent? Is this where Jesus would go? Perhaps it’s time to consider the positions we have created for ourselves and our thoughts about where we belong on this earth, and then, just like Jesus did, let’s lay these down.

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to earth and laying down Your divinity. Today, I lay down any concept of self that excludes me from entering the humble, stinky places where you would hang out. I ask for the grace to walk where You go. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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“I know the greatness of the Lord -that our Lord is greater than any other god.” Psalm 135:5 (NLT)

Dictionary.com defines “devotion” as “profound dedication; consecration” and “earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.” We know that devotion is our 24/7 way of being with God. At the same time, setting aside consecrated time daily to spend with God is my act of devotion; of showing God my profound dedication to Him. It is not a matter of habit or religious duty, but rather it flows out of love.

During this time before our Lord, our Heavenly Father becomes the central focus of our devotion. We worship Him, and only Him. We can come, not only because we love God, but also because we know that God loves us unconditionally. We can come without our armor. We can come expectant and with our hearts opened up to Him. From this central place of devotion, we can move out into the rest of the day, pointing our life towards our King.

Reflection:
What brings you today to spend time with our Lord?

Prayer:
Dear Father, I am devoted to You. May I center my day around You today, so that I can walk in the great Love You have for me.

By Idelette McVicker
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While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’” Luke 11:27-28

The woman in the crowd had such admiration and love for Jesus. She couldn’t imagine a greater blessing than being the woman who carried and raised the Son of God. Jesus shifts the perspective, however. He says Mary is blessed not because she carried and birthed him, but because Mary heard God’s word and obeyed it.

In the same way, we are blessed, not because we fulfill the great calling, but rather when we obey the voice of God. God looks at our heart and sees the willing servant. Is this where I am positioned today? Am I listening for God’s specific word for me and responding as Mary did? “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)

The blessing comes as we walk closely with Him, moving on His shouts and His whispers, willing to follow and trust the Divine.

Thank You, Father, that You value my willing heart and my obedience. Speak to me today, Lord. Your servant is listening. Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
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Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others (the armies of heaven) praising God and saying, “˜Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
Luke 2:13-14
(NLT)

Jesus was not born into a quiet moment in history. I need to lay down my perception of Christ coming when there is nothing else pressing going on in my life. Instead, Jesus is born right into the chaos of life on earth. With His birth, God pierces earth with His Son from Heaven and with it, gives us the greatest gift of Peace. Our responsibility is simple to receive Him. Jesus doesn’t come when all my dishes are clean, all the laundry is done, the house is perfect and the children are happily playing – Jesus beckons me to come join Him in the midst of everything that calls my attention and calls me away from Him. He calls me to come and be with Him. Quiet moments don’t come by themselves; instead I focus on Him and move everything else to the periphery. I make room for Him in my inner life. I invite Him into the center of where I live and move and have my being.

Prayer: Forgive me for the times I have shut You out, Lord, so You had to go find room somewhere else. Today, I invite you into the center of my life. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

by Idelette McVicker
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Have you come to the place in your spiritual journey where you realize that Jesus Christ died for your sins (all acts of active rebellion and passive indifference)? Would you like to be free inwardly from all of your sin and guilt? Would you like to have Jesus Christ, your Creator, direct your life from now on?  If your answer is “yes” pray the following prayer and your sins will be forgiven, your guilt will be removed and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as Savior ad Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.


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