Tag Archive | Jesus

Do You Have Any Idea How Lucky You Are?

windows-photo-gallery-wallpaper.jpgYou have been chosen.

By the God of the universe…He chose you before the foundation of the world.  And not just “you”, the “struggling, trying hard, want to do good you.”  Or the “oops, I stumbled again” you.  This also includes the “boy have I really blown it, no one is as bad as me” you.  THAT you.  I’m trying to tell you about the HOLY AND BLAMELESS you.  THAT is who He selected, HE CHOSE YOU before the world was ever formed.

Maybe that’s old news.  Maybe it doesn’t knock your socks off.  But it does me.

Every so often I just get hit with that realization anew. And it’s mind-boggling. What PEACE that brings…why is there any stress in this life when we are assured of our place in eternity?

If you aren’t aware, it’s all in His plan.  But oh wait, that’s right. He only accepts perfection. Blameless people.  That lets you out?  Not really.

He cannot abide sin.  Not even a little white lie.  (Most of mine are actually ugly, crunchy black things).  So He devised the plan to send His own Son to pay the penalty—which is death—for my sins and yours.  The plan goes like this:  Jesus, God’s son, came in a miraculous way, lived a perfect, sinless life.  Then He was put to death in a tortuous way. And in His death He assumed all of your sins.  All of my sins.  All the sins of the world’s people.

He carried those sins to the grave; conquered death and left them there.  Then he got up; he came back from the dead and went back to heaven, get this: to prepare a place for you.  And when you accept this, when you truly believe this and accept Him as the One who has saved you, you join the ranks of the holy and blameless. Isn’t that amazing?

If you’d like to know more, please leave me a comment.  But it’s all in the Bible.  Start with John 3:16 if you like, and go on from there.  In fact, he comprised the whole thing into that one verse: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  See, I had to use 7 paragraphs, he used one sentence.

And if you don’t have a Bible but you’re using the Internet, there’s www.biblehub.com or  www.biblegateway.com.  You can find it all there.

So.  Now.  Put your socks back on.  And have a blessed day.

Mama’s Reinforcer

My 3 brothers and I were rambunctious, curious, headstrong kids who were constantly experimenting, trying out new things, building contraptions, getting into scrapes.  Especially when we concocted pretend battles that earned us scrapes and more than one hilarious–if unexpected–outcome. (Tale for another time)

Yet when Mama said jump, we did.  Didn’t ask why.  Or argue.   We just understood that she was Mama, she was in charge, she knew best, and she had a little maple switch to back up her words if we disagreed.

She didn’t use it much.  She didn’t have to.  She knew that our history with her and our aversion to pain had taught us to trust her at her word.  The few times our egos got in the way and that little guy with the horns on my left shoulder prompted me to flip that big toe over the line a bit too far…I had the Truth of what I already knew reinforced.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never dare to complain about this.  It wasn’t excessive; it wasn’t cruel or meant to harm.  It was love in action; love showing us that we had firm boundaries in place for our safety and protection.  We knew that from her perspective, in her many years of wisdom earned the hard way, that she absolutely knew what was the right thing for us to do.  Our doubts were set to rest with a bit of stinging on the legs, a few tender tears, and a much chastened ego.

When I read again John 2: 4 today, (about the wedding in Cana) I had to think about mothers and their children.  As a mother of grown sons today, When I see a need to be filled, I quietly direct my sons in the same way that Mary did.  “Jack, we need more tea,” or “Seth, that box is too heavy for her.”  I know without hesitation that they will acquiesce, and help in whatever way my statement implied.  I know that’s taking huge license with the Saviour and His relationship to his mother, but that’s my personal frame of reference here.

Yet Jesus’ statement in verse 4 was, (as stated in the Hebrew Names Version),

4 Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful or refusing to obey; He was simply asking her to consider His own perspective of His mission of salvation versus her more immediate temporal concern.

That is a huge lesson for me right now.  Recovering from an unexpected divorce, I have my own laundry list of immediate wants and needs that I’ve taken to Him, confident that He cares.  But He’s reminding me that His perspective is different from mine.  His purposes in the trials I face today are eternal, not temporal.

That’s quite a lesson for me.  I wanted to pass it along, for what it’s worth.  And to share with you one more bit of serendipity…the verse to encourage me that came to mind from this study was from I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV).

Now, I have a children’s memory verse pad—it’s a post-it note pad with a different verse printed on every page in large print—I guess it’s used in VBS or children’s classes.  The top one was about children obeying their parents.  I used to stick them on the mirror and around the house, as reminders.

Haven’t used it in a while.  In a pinch, I turned it over and scribbled I Peter 5:7 down on the back of the last well-worn sheet that still had a bit of sticky on it. I folded the sticky edge down and stuck it with the verse I wrote showing on my bookshelf beside my desk.  It was a few moments later when I stood up to leave the desk, that I glanced at the notepad to see what the new memory verse would be.  Here it is: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 

Memory verse pad

Give Us This Day…

Remember the story of the widow with the oil and flour in I Kings 17 who was preparing to die when her food ran out, and it managed (the Lord provided) to keep lasting on and on and on?  She just baked enough for each day and the next day there was still enough to bake bread for one more day.  Trusting God.  One day at a time.

Well, it seems that way with my Bible.  I mean, to clarify, I’m not planning to starve or die right away as the widow feared; I’m just fascinated how the same container with the same contents–the Scriptures–just keeps renewing itself and  providing me with different insights on a daily basis.  What a bargain!  Buy one book and keep reading new insights for years.  He just keeps on feeding me constantly. (Could this be my “daily bread” that I pray for?)

The very same 66 books, the very same words arranged in precisely the same way they were when I was 2 or 3 and first heard the stories at my mother’s knee…or to expand on that idea, the same words for the last 2,000 years or so, never mind when I first heard them.

As to the nature  of the Word, the apostle John shares that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God…and that tells me the Word is Jesus.  The same yesterday, today and forever.  And Hebrews 4 reminds us that “the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” so that addresses the literal power in the Scriptures.

Yet somehow I’m newly aware that these 807,361 words (in the King James version, at least, according to http://www.neverthirsty.org/pp/corner/read2/r00722.html), are the same words I’ve been reading for close to 60 years–and that their message is constantly changing and meeting my needs, whatever they are at any given moment.  Wow.  Mind boggling.

Thank you, Lord.

What’s next, Father?

Jenni on the highwayMidnight’s approaching.  I wish for something special.

Something unique to mark this year’s end.

Such a huge promise awaits just on the other side of the clock.

So exciting, that the approach has to be marked in a special way.

Special?  How about those stars shining down on me from thousands of years ago?

How about the soft, cold winds blowing across my face, that blew across the sands of the Orient  not long ago?

How could you ask for a more brilliant marker, a fancier benchmark than the glistening moon shining down on the face of the one that you love?

Ok.   That’s good enough for me.  Tonight has been recorded in a significant way.

Now, I’m ready for tomorrow and whatever He has in store.

Thank you, Lord.

Is It Christmas Yet?

It’s barely daylight and so quiet in the house, you can hear the snow blowing around outside.  The scent of spruce boughs lingers in the air as you tiptoe through the living room, bent on checking out those gift-wrapped presents under the tree.  Quiet, don’t wake up the snoring parents in the process.

What’s this?  There’s a huge rectangular package tucked behind the tree with no tags, no names. A plain brown wrapping paper-wrapped shape, no ribbons or bows.  Where did this come from?  It has an air mail sticker in the corner that’s marked, “North Pole.”

Whenever I think of my childhood (50’s and 60’s) and all the little special things that warm my memory, this one rises to the surface most often.  The gift turned out to be simply a suitcase, meant for me.  It was a thoughtful present, as I loved going to church camp in the summer, spring and fall retreats, and to friends’ houses to spend the night.  That wasn’t the important thing.   It was the unexpectedness, the delight and surprise of it all.

There are other memories, the doll I received that was very nice—but not the one I wanted, not the one I asked for. The year I tried so hard as an 8 year old to provide and wrap gifts for my brothers and parents on my own, and in desperation ended up selecting the very best of the cloth handkerchiefs in my father’s drawer, wrapping them beautifully for my brother’s gift.  I remember how accomplished I felt, how impressed I was with myself and how beautifully I wrapped all the presents.  Juxtaposed over that image is the look of hurt and perplexity in my brother’s eyes when he opened my elegant box of used handkerchiefs.  The anger in my father’s voice as he yelled at me for hurting my brother’s feelings.  The lame attempt to pacify my brother with a model car purchased at the all night drug store.  What a memory.

I can remember the best part of our Kentucky Christmas dinner—the homemade candies my aunt Laura made, tons and tons of different chocolates, fruit-filled drops, fudge, and mints.  The warm and spicy aroma of my grandmother’s house with the meal all ready…the bubbling lights on her sad, pathetic little Christmas trees, that she festooned with paper ribbons, German paper stars, and mercury glass ornaments.

I can still feel the sharp bite of cold against my cheeks as we leave Granny’s house after dinner and gift-exchange, heading for home and the inevitable “unexpected” early arrival of Santa, who always seemed to hit our house on Christmas Eve so Mom and Dad could sleep late next morning.  The stale odor of old cigarettes lingered on the car’s plastic seat covers against my cheek and mixed with the scent of foil-covered leftover turkey and dressing that we carried home, pressed upon us by my dear Granny as always.

So many memories rise during this season…the year my brother came home on furlough from the Army, wrecked his brother’s car and went back to base early (understandably).  The funny little borrowed doll that came with a note, explaining that Miss Darlene the Ballerina was ill and in the doll hospital, and would make her arrival a week or so after Christmas when she had recovered.

Setting the table for Christmas dinner always held its special charm:  first I would raise the leaves of our cherry drop-leaf table until the two-seater would seat 10-12.  Then what I pictured as dressing the princess in her ball gown:  I covered the table with a padded protective cover, followed by either a solid green or solid red cloth covering.  Frosting the beautiful crimson or emerald cover would be a delicate crocheted tablecloth, brought back from Germany when my Dad was in the War.

Mama’s feather-pattern glasses with the gold rims came next, and all her good china, each plate turned to just the right angle, cloth napkins in place, and the knives with their blades facing the plate, each piece nestled in its appointed role.

Leaving room for the turkey platter in the center of the table, I placed candles here and there, with fancy dishes to hold the jewel-like cranberry sauce, the antique silver footed casserole holders with their Pyrex inserts, and the butter knife beside the butter dish just so.

The singular display in its place of honor in our living room, however, was the cloud of angel hair that served as a bed for the Manger Scene.  A die-cut cardboard set, it lasted us for years and years.  And it never lost its charm.   I always pictured the baby Jesus with his glowing halo, just as the one in the figures looked.  And that’s the last thing I always fought for, to keep Baby Jesus on display after the holidays were over, all the gifts opened, the tummies fattened, the naps taken.  When the tissue and discarded bows were cleared away I wanted him to remain, the last vestige of the holiday—the real meaning of the Christmases I remember so well.

Manger Scene Set Vintage

Time Alone

Peaceful

Peaceful (Photo credit: gem66)

We tend to complain about the pace of things; with technology and schedules and activities, it seems we have no time to think; to evaluate who and where we are.   With priorities conflicting, family, work, leisure, the  mechanics of daily living, things can get pretty confusing.

Yet one thing I’d like to stress today, if my words have any value at all:  If you are experiencing confusion, it is NOT from God.  That’s a popular distraction of Satan‘s, to have you believe that God is sending it your way.  But remember–He’s a God of balance and order, not of confusion or chaos.

And He is a God of Peace.  Seek His peace; shut off Satan’s big mouth, (yes, you can do it) banish Satan and he must flee.      Get alone.  Follow Jesus’ example.  Go somewhere quiet and alone.  Jesus will meet you there.  Time after time  we see Him in the Scriptures slipping off to get alone and pray.   He knew the value of it.  (see Mark 1:35; Mark 6:45,46; Mark 14:32-34; Luke 4:42; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12)

And He highly recommends it:  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)     But don’t do it for “all these things”.  Do it for peace.  There is nothing–I mean nothing like it. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:7)