Life with a capital L: a small group resource & my blessing

God has been at work in my life. For a second time, God sent me Matt Heard’s message to live life with a capital L.

Twelve days after my Mama stepped into heaven, I reviewed life with a capital L. This book helped me glean the richness of the journey Mama was taking as she lifted one foot toward heaven and eventually, the other, reaching her destiny and true Life with a capital L.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Mama’s Life in heaven.

I am so glad that Heard created a small group participants’ guide and DVD. The guide can be used in 4, 6, or 12-week sessions with the DVD and the book.

Heard uses every-day examples to illustrate Biblical concepts. For example, he describes the difference between a bucket and a pipe: if you pour water into a bucket, the water stays in the bucket and will eventually become stagnant; however, if you pour water into a pipe, the water flows through the pipe, much like when a Christian serves as a conduit for God’s love, showering it on others, and as a result, God pours more love into that Christian to give the love away.

What’s in the guide

In the participant’s guide, Heard provides the facilitator with tips on how to lead the group. The participant’s guide includes:

  1. Warm-up questions (before the video).
  2. Video reaction prompts.
  3. Word studies (to go deeper in the Bible).
  4. Group discussion questions.
  5. Closing prayer prompts.
  6. After session reflections.
  7. Resolutions (prompts for prayer, reflection and action throughout the week).

Personal reflection

Daddy’s journey to heaven was 15 years before Mama’s. She missed him so much. Often, she would ask me why she was still living. I told her that God wasn’t finished with her, yet, that God had something else for her to do.

I wondered why she had to go through the last few weeks of her life. I know now. In those last few weeks of pain, there were glimpses of heaven. She served as a conduit for God’s grace and love to spill out onto her caregivers and onto her children. She didn’t know the reason for those weeks, nor did I. I’m sure she knows now. I know now.

One caregiver said that she had not seen such peace in a hospice patient. Her conclusion: “She must have her spiritual house in order.”

Without a word, in dying, Mama pointed people to Jesus; Mama lived life with a capital L in her dying.

Final resolution

Matt Heard’s final resolution sums up Life:

I will keep in mind that my ultimate redemption is graciously secured and that Christ will get me home.

I will pay attention to today’s heaven moments – whether physical aches, unfulfilled longings, encounters with beauty, broken experiences, or opportunities to obey – and will hope for the day when Life with a capital L will no longer be diluted by a fallen body and fallen world.

I miss our morning calls, Mama. They were Life.
I miss you, Mama.

My tears are filled with your Life, glimpses of heaven.
I’ll see you in heaven, Mama.

Matt Heard’s message is important. Please share this message.

Make it Yours!

Above all, make it your resolution this week to ask God to show you the
path to living Life with a capital L.
My prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You, again, for Matt Heard and the message You have given him. Bless him as he seeks Your face, Your guidance, and Your future messages. Guide us towards a deeper Life with You. We want to be used by You. We love you, Lord.

More Information

Author Bio

I unexpectedly received a copy of the Participant’s Guide and DVD of life with a capital L: Embracing your God-given humanity from Multnomah Books.

Mama is walking a jewel-studded path toward heaven

Jewels 2

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. … the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelation 4

Daddy died 14 years ago. All this time, my Mama wondered why God kept her on earth. God had a reason for her to be here instead of with Daddy … God wasn’t done with her.

Indeed, He had great plans for her … in the small things.

Mama’s gift is friend-making. Her friends consist of life-long friends, friends at her assisted living residence, friends at her doctor’s office, friends with her Bible study group, friends with family members.

She spreads laughter, smiles, and serves as a directional towards Jesus.

A bed, hospice health care providers, assisted living staff, and family is her world right now. And yet, she keeps on giving. Her smiles are sweeter. Her “Thank You” is more meaningful, more frequent. Her “Love You” is more appreciated. Her demeanor is more peaceful now.

And it is noticed.

Mama is a jewelry person. Sparkles, gold, and pearls adorn her ears, wrists, and neck. She blesses people with small jewels of kindness and love. Her jeweled blessings have amassed a King’s treasure.

In the last seven days, I have witnessed true love as people come to her room to tell her that they love her and that God is with her. Through tears, they tell her a cherished memory.

From the foundations of the world, God created works for my Mama to do. Great works, built on the small acts of kindness, perhaps unspoken of until now.

Mama, I remember so many small things about you that still bless me. I have a treasure-house of jewels from you. Perhaps these jewels will stud the golden crowns you have in heaven.

I look forward to seeing you cast your crowns at the feet of Jesus.

I love you, Mama.

Enjoy your jewel-studded path as you walk hand-in-hand with Jesus into eternity.

My prayer

Father, help us to remember that You have built Your kingdom on the small things through Your Spirit. Pour out the Holy Spirit upon us and polish the small jewels in our paths.

What are the small jewels in your life?

Questioning God? What do you see and hear when you look at Jesus?

Galilee HillsideNow when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matthew 11:2-6

John, the baby who leapt in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary entered the house with Jesus in her womb.

John, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

John, the “voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of The Lord.”

John, the one who introduced Jesus,“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

John, in prison and about to be beheaded, asks, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

Even though The Lord may have blessed us with mighty encounters with Him, when things don’t go as we expect, we may question God. Is this really You?

That’s okay with God. He is gracious.

Jesus doesn’t answer with a rebuke, but He tells John’s followers to tell him what they hear and see: healing, miracles, and preaching filled with hope.

Look to the Healer, the Miracle Worker, the Preacher of Hope, the Expected One. Look to Jesus.

My prayer for you

Expected One, thank You for Your gracious response to our questions. Fill our hearts with the certainty of Your control of our lives. Fill our minds with Your perfect wisdom and clarity. Increase our faith and hope in You. We love You, Lord and look to You, the Expected One.

Love Eternal gives life eternal … Christmas as a verb

Ornament

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Glory, grace, and truth … we wondered.
Love Eternal beckoned us, “Follow Me.”
His body broken; His blood shed … our debt He paid.
Death, He conquered; Life Eternal He gave.
All who call on His name are saved.

May the full meaning of Christmas capture your passion.
May streams of His lovingkindness pour from you onto others.

My prayer for you:

Father, thank You for giving Your all for us. Your gift is the ultimate gift of love. Empower us to understand the depth of Your gift, and beckon us to unwrap all of the gift and receive it fully in our lives. Thank You for the true gift of life!

Is your Christmas season filled with wildflowers among the weeds?

And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Luke 12:25-31

I often walk to meetings about 1/4 mile away from my office. There’s a vacant lot that burst forth in vivid color this spring, and the flowers are still blooming in December. Weeds have grown up among the wildflowers, and, yet, the flowers lift their faces to the sun for warmth and nourishment.

In this hustle-bustle season, it’s easy to let the weeds of the season pop up around us. We  scurry from one department store to the next to buy gifts for people who will return them after Christmas. We bake treats that add pounds that we’ll work hard to remove after the New Year. We write newsy letters to people we haven’t spoken to all year. We decorate our homes and offices; several weeks later, we pack the decorations into boxes to store for the next season. We sing Santa and reindeer songs. We fill our calendars with parties and gatherings.

We wish “Happy Holidays” to everyone and “Merry Christmas” to a select few. We attend church services and children’s plays.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Consider Jesus. What if we took time to lift our faces towards Jesus in the midst of the weeds of the season to let the Son kiss us with His warmth and nourishment?

What if we trusted that if we sought His kingdom and the true meaning of His gift to the world?

Could all these things be added — with a beauty and splendor that befits the King we serve?

My prayer for you:

Father, this is a season that is filled with tradition, festivities, demands. Sometimes, we drive ourselves into exhaustion. Holy Spirit, give us wisdom as we prepare our homes, our families, and our festivities and prompt us to lift our faces toward Jesus … to wait upon Him in the beauty of His holiness. Thank you, Jesus, for Your gift, You gave it all for us. You have brought Joy to the world!

I would have despaired unless …

Flowers-IsraelSeeds sprouted and pushed up through the stony Israeli soil to wait upon the sun for nourishment. In the light of the sun, they blossomed to bless passers-by who shared their beauty with others through photos.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD  In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage, Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27: 13-14

What keeps us from despair? Faith that we will see the goodness of the Lord.

What are we to do? Wait for the Lord. It’s an active waiting. It’s being strong and making your heart take courage.

My prayer for you

Father, thank You for the lessons You have placed before us in nature. Teach us their truths and show us how to apply those truths to our Christian walk. Empower us to push through the stony times towards the light of Your own dear Son, Jesus. Show us how to actively wait upon You, and empower us to reflect your light through the beauty You are creating in our lives. Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness.

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you in His goodness as you actively wait upon Him.