Faith

The Hard Yes

Don’t we love saying yes to the easy yeses in our lives?  We love the yeses that offer us promotion, praise or comfort.  How do we react when God asks us to say yes to the hard yeses?  The yeses that require time, commitment and sacrifice.  The yeses that ask us to give much of ourselves – the yeses that hurt.

As we celebrate this holy week I think of Mary’s journey.  Baby Jesus stirring in her womb as she rode on the back of a donkey, making the journey to Bethlehem, the City of David.

Mary had said yes to a hard yes.  A yes that would be self sacrificing, life threatening, life changing and heart piercing.  Mary said yes to salvation, her own salvation and our salvation.

Those are the yeses that shape us, form us and mold us into the image of Christ.   As we celebrate this Christmas and begin to look into the year ahead let’s make a Christmas Promise to ourselves.

We Will Say Yes To the Hard Yes

Each of us, like Mary hold a hard yes within us –  

  • Some of us will will say yes and sit with a friend who is suffering.
  • Some of us will say yes and welcome a neglected, abandoned child into our family.
  • Some of us will say yes to opening up our home and our table to the lonely.
  • Some of us will say yes and finally go on that mission trip to a starving and broken land where we will pour ourselves out until our bones and our hearts ache.
  • Some of us will say yes and move far away from family and comforts to follow God’s call.
  • Some of us will say yes to compassion for that difficult co-worker or family member.
  • Some of us will say yes and set down our pride once and for all.
  • Some of us will say yes and open up our checkbooks until it hurts.
  • Some of us will say yes and love those who are difficult to love.

Within our Hard Yes, God is birthing something beautiful. 

Faith

Christ

The count down to Christmas has begun.  I have struggled with Christmas for several years now.  For some unexplained reason I feel like a greedy glutton through out the holidays.  I cannot shake this unexplained feeling of sadness combined with restlessness that seems to just sit upon me.

I am a terrible shopper, fifteen minutes in and I’m ready for a nap.  I don’t even consider Black Friday shopping, I find myself more of a Cyber Monday kind of gal.  How is it that as I shop for others, I keep finding things for myself, my selfish self.

A few years ago I made up my mind that I would refocus my mind and my heart.  I would refuse to allow these feelings overtake me, I had to find my way back to joy.   My husband made a beautiful Advent Log and week by week as I light each candle it stills my restless heart. It would become the tool that the Lord would use to bring me back to the miracle that is Christmas.

Advent3

Hope

The first week I light the Candle of Hope and I think of Israel waiting, hoping praying longing for a Savior for four-hundred years.  Hope came as Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  Our Savior was immaculately conceived. Mary would have no idea and the greatness of this Yes, this life changing, life threatening and sacrificial Yes.

Preparation

The second week I light the Candle of Preparation and I think of our of gracious God who prepared the way for His Son.

I think of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, who was also expecting a great miracle as John the Baptist grew within in her, even at her impossible age.  For everything is possible with God.  I see how the Lord gave Mary a friend who would believe with her, pray with her and encourage her.

I read how the Lord prepared the heart of Joseph to honor Mary as his wife.  I watch as the Lord goes before them leading and guiding their every step.

Joy

As Jesus burst forth in the world, the whole Earth rejoices.  The sky is filled with angels who bring a great message of joy to the shepherds tending their flocks in the night.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2 10-14 

I cannot imagine a greater joy. I picture every living thing rejoicing in their own unique way. I can feel joy stir within me.

Love

As I light the Candle of Love Imagine someone I love and I let that feeling simmer. Give that a try, for you maybe it is a spouse, a parent, brother, sister, a child or a dear friend. Hold on to that feeling for a moment and then multiply it and keep multiplying it until you can’t anymore.  That is the Love of God.  The sacrificial love of God for you, for me, for all.

He would love us so much that He would watch this babe grow into a boy.  He would see a young Jesus who didn’t want to leave His Father’s House, the Temple.  He would listen when Jesus would go off alone just to talk to Him.  As His son became a man, He would watch as Jesus moved by compassion, would heal the lame, the blind, the sick and raise the dead.

He would see His Son beaten, spit  upon and humiliated by mere men. He watched as a crown of thorns would be presses deep into His skull.  He would see His Son carry His own cross up the hill where He would be crucified.   He, a holy God  would have to turn away as the sin of the world clung to His Son.  My sin, your sin.  He would endure all of this because He loves us.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  

John 3:16 

Christ

I light the Christ Candle, the candle that all of the other candles point to and I think of those three days that Jesus spent separated from His beloved Father.  The three days where He defeated sin, death and the grave to give the greatest gift that will be over be given.

Salvation

I encourage you my friends, if you, like me find Christmas to be an overwhelming struggle. Pause and take time to light the candles and let your heart be stilled by the perfect peace of Christ.

 

 

 

 

Faith

Grow-Up

I wonder when it will happen – When will God’s people grow up?

When will we LOVE?

When will we stay CALM?

When will we MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS AND DO OUR JOB?

With everything going on in our world I have formed many opinions.  Many opinions I would love to share, better yet shout from the rooftops.  Yet these verses keep ringing in my ears.

The Message captures them beautifully –

1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 The Message (MSG)

9-10 Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it.

11-12 Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. 

 

Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another!

For a moment let’s just think of the thoughts and time wasted in writing those scathing or passive aggressive social media posts.

I have yet to read a social media post that has changed my life. Have you?

Only the living breathing Word of God can accomplish change.

I believe that Paul’s words were reminding this young church in Thessalonica to grow-up.

His words still call out to us today –

  • Get along with one another 
  • Love one another 
  • You already know this – God has already shown you
  • I know you can do it – I have seen you do it before. 
  • Stay calm – don’t allow yourself to get all worked up 
  • Mind your own business. 
  • Minding your own business is easy  – when you are hard at work
  • A reminder never hurts 
  • You will have the respect of those who do not believe,  by the way you live your life out
  • Don’t be lazy and live off of others – get yourself to work, loving and serving

Let these words ring in your ears, as they have in mine,  my friends.  It’s time to grow-up.

If we can grab a hold of them and live them out, we will see the world around us begin to change.

 

 

Faith

Tracing Jesus

This past weekend I had the opportunity to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus with 7,200 women.  All 50 US states and 37 different countries at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. It was glorious!

In our own small town, small church we can feel… well… small.  It was refreshing to realize that His Church, His Bride is not small… it is BIG and it wraps all around the world.

This conference was different, slower, quieter, deeper –

  • The worship intimate and sweet
  • The teaching solid and sure

No one was pointing at themselves, their ministry or their book – the only person being pointed to – was Jesus.

It was a refreshing for my soul.  A refocusing of my mind.

I found myself digging deep into God’s Word along with thousands of other ladies.

We can find ourselves wondering, Are we getting this Jesus following thing right? 

These words were a balm to my heart and an answer to that question

Jesus is our pattern – We trace our lives after Him

Jesus is our pattern We trace our lives after Him

As we keep Jesus in the fore front of our thoughts and actions –
We trace after Him.
It’s when we start tracing ourselves or others –
We find ourselves off of the page.
Eunice · Faith · Timothy · Train Up a Child

Eunice – A Conquering Well

That is what her name means and it fits her so well.  She was a well of Living Water, a Jewish woman who was married to a Gentile, who also grabbed a hold of the Gospel of Jesus.  She is a rare find.  She had much to conquer in her life, in order to raise her son Timothy to know the Full Gospel.

  Continue reading “Eunice – A Conquering Well”