Love Confirmed…(see last post!)

Quote

From the Daily Office for Jan. 1st….

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.

Isaiah 62: 4-5

Dare to Be Less Than You Can Be

It’s sounds un-American. It almost sounds sacrilegious. From Disney’s nothing-is-impossible-if you-can-dream-it to the U.S. Army’s classic “Be All That You Can Be”, America’s the place where you can reach your goal if you only work hard enough. It’s what makes us the greatest nation in the world. Right?

But what if being all that we can be isn’t the real goal after all? What if it’s about being what God asks us to be. Mother Teresa came from an educated family and excelled in teaching. Why should she give up using those talents and benefits and commit the rest of her life picking up nearly dead humans from the street and feeding them a few mouthfuls of gruel before they passed away? But God asked her to go, and she did. We all know the rest. Perhaps greatness in God’s kingdom is about fulfilling His desires for us where He has placed us. Not in cultivating our deepest desires and most obvious talents.

Don’t get me wrong, though. God gives us our talents for His glory. But sometimes, and I would propose most often, the development of these talents, for a true Christian, will look, to the unbelieving world, less than optimal. That’s because for the Christian, the use of our talents is about forwarding His work here on earth, not about triumphantly making it to the top of the hill. Isn’t that what Christ did, anyhow? He could have done a lot more than teach 12 men. He could have turned stones to bread as Satan had tempted Him to do. But He didn’t. He did less than He could. Instead He did what God asked Him to do. And make no mistake–someday we will see everything Jesus can do–when the time is right. That goes for us to. The new heaven and the new earth will be an amazing place where human potential can flourish as God truly intended.

That’s why we have dreams of doing more than we could ever accomplish, by the way. Dreams are the the soul remembering that it is immortal. And when that time comes we will be all that we can be!

Enduring Obedience

I write having failed in this area not two hours ago.  I should have been up at five. However, when my alarm went off my half-awake self started talking to my good intentions. It’s still dark. You didn’t sleep well last night. Just one more half hour. You deserve it. I yielded to the siren call of sleep and woke two hours later. Wow, Elizabeth. What a fighter you are. I definitely did not obey what I felt the Lord wanted me to do. One thing I certainly did NOT do today–endure obedience.

Have you ever thought of obedience as something to endure? I usually think of obedience in terms of making the right decision at any moment in time. Enduring obedience takes this to a higher level. It’s making the right decisions faithfully over a long period of time and bearing any pain that comes because of it. Hebrews says of Jesus Christ, “that7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him”. Jesus didn’t learn how to obey, he was sinless, but he learned or experienced what it was to obey to the uttermost. Because he did it perfectly, he became our perfect high priest, able to save because of his sinless sacrifice and able to sympathize with us in all our temptations. Jesus endured his incarnation and his obedience won salvation for us all!

So, are you enduring something now? Is being obedient exacting a high price? Are you a parent, who needs to be faithful in the never-ending cycle of housework, meal preparation and child care? Do you have to go to a job you don’t like day after day in order to provide for you family? Do you have to care for someone who is sick? Do you have to face the work of overcoming an addiction? You’re in good company. Jesus knows what it is like to obey and to do it for a really long time. Don’t give up! Talk to Him when it is hard…He knows! Remember that if you are His, you belong to a great company of others who have endured too.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

For Those of Us Who Are Really Angry

Ok. So someone hurts your feelings. Or steals your parking spot. Maybe they are late to your event or didn’t RSVP. You’re angry.

Or…someone molested you, killed a relative, stole your creative work, broke their marriage vows, abandoned you. You’re REALLY angry.

You just can’t lay hurts like that down and call everything happy. You may want to. You may try. But it never magically goes away.  I’m writing this post because letting go of anger is more than just trusting God to be just. It’s about looking at something that actually happened. That something that happened is as real and as horrible as what happened to you. That something can save those of us who are REALLY angry. In fact it saves us TWICE.

When we have been hurt, deeply hurt, we cry. Elementary. The tears heal and they let others know we suffer. Something else is born in us, too, though you might not believe it. A cry for justice. You can deny it but it’s true. It’s actually not a bad thing in itself. It shows that what was lost has intrinsic value. That cry is a kind of anger. Here’s the clincher. Your need for justice has been satisfied. You didn’t even have to fill out a report, call a lawyer, or attend a court date. No jury deliberations necessary. God knew every wrong that would happen to you and kept a record. And He exacted justice. About two thousand years ago.

You can have a front row seat to that event. In fact, you probably should take one. If you have a deep hurt it’s the next thing you should do after reading this post. Go somewhere by yourself and take that hurt to an ugly hill with three crosses on it. On one cross is an innocent man. He’s been nailed there and left to die. His name is Jesus. You can imagine a crucifixion. Stay long enough until you realize that God exacted justice for your hurt on Him. I don’t know how long you will need to see Jesus writhing there before you realize that He took your perpetrator’s punishment in full. It will happen though. At that point you will have been saved from your cry for justice. Each time the anger comes back take it to the cross and you will realize it again. But it will take less time.

Be sure to do one more thing before you leave the cross. Stay there long enough to realize how many of your actions Christ suffered over. You’ve hurt others and offended God with your sin. Accept that He took that punishment for you, and let Him be Lord of your life. At that point you have been saved TWICE. Once from anger and once from your own unrighteousness.

What a Savior!

If you want to know more about this awesome God who loves you this much you can send me a reply or simply visit my church’s website at www.clovisevfree.org. We have great pastors and elders who would love to talk to you. (And some great sermons to hear, too.)

A Palace Made For You

“16Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful. Our couch is green;
17the beams of our house are cedar;
our rafters are pine.” Song of Solomon 1

“8And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Genesis 2

Have you ever looked at the earth and realized that it is an amazing, monolithic palace made for you?  It is to God’s glory that He has lavished such breathtaking wonders on us! I think every man wants to carry His bride over the threshold into a home worthy of his love for her. Well, God beats all lovers hands-down. Not even Shah Jahan, who erected the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his most beloved wife, can rival God’s astounding creation of a single star hung in the heavens that glitters and shines above us.  No wonder God has plans to create anew the heavens and the earth after He destroys Satan! To His glory He will set His bride again in a perfect place.  Jesus said before He left, ” And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am…” (John 14)  He is laying down plans for us and our future.  Meanwhile we walk within His magnum opus, this created world, as a bride more loved than any other.  How can we not love Him???

Soli deo gloria!!!

The Wonder of People

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Flowers from a dear friend 🙂

I love all my friends.  I am so thankful for each on of them.  I think people are fascinating creations of God.  You could spend years with someone and still learn that you don’t know half of who they are.  Like an inverted universe, the end of a person’s soul is unfathomable.  Perhaps that’s because we are made in the image of God.  We possess an immortal soul and are designed to live forever.  Truly it is as the Bible says, “He has put eternity in the heart of man.”