23 April 2009

Reproach = Wealth. Really??

By faith, Moses. . . considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:26

Down through time there are those who have considered reproach for Christ’s sake to equal wealth. Moses is one of those. Then there are also those modern day heros of the faith as well. My mind travels to my brothers and sister in China, and Sudan, Iraq, Turkey, North Korea, Columbia. And I’m sure many other places as well. Places that don’t get as much “media” coverage in the Christian world. Or places we don’t know about.

There are brothers and sisters shut away in shipping containers. Foul prisons. They suffer unbelievable tortures. They go hungry. They are separated from their husbands, wives, little children. When my sister’s husband is in prison she wonders how she will pay the rent or how she will find food for her babies. When both parents are put into prison children are left to fend for themselves. They are virtual orphans. And homeless.

And this is considered wealth? Wealth? You’re kidding.

These followers of Jesus are not living for this present age. They are living for the age to come. They are keeping their eyes on the reward. They are looking for the Heavenly City. The New Jerusalem. They are willing to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

They are far more concerned about the Glory of God than their own comfort. They have chosen to look away from things their eyes can see.

How will I consider my difficulties (minor though they may be) to be “wealth” today? How can I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith?

My dear husband is the runner in our family. He actually enjoys races. He’s reflected many times on the parallels of running a race and our personal journeys to THE PLACE Jesus is preparing for us. He talks about how important it is to keep your eyes on the end goal.

I tend to get so bogged down with life itself that I forget that this isn’t all there is!! I’m doing good to just get one foot in front of the other. But there is more!! It’s what I can’t see, but just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

So today, if life’s circumstances weigh heavily on your shoulders, remember those who considered “reproach” to be wealth. I probably won’t suffer reproach today for the name of Christ, but I will find it difficult to keep my eyes on the prize.

Lift your eyes with me today. Our Heavenly Bridegroom has gone to prepare a place for us. We are the ones who need to be ready and waiting, having our lamps lit with the oil of the Spirit.

21 April 2009

So girlfriends, Blissfully Domestic is giving away a sleep number bed!! Race on over to her site and leave a comment for a chance to win!!

I must confess. I did. 

16 April 2009

Pondering Hebrews

The first several verses of Hebrews are breathtaking:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Hebrews 1:1-3 (esv)

Wait. Did you get it? I mean, did you really digest that? God. Our God. He spoke through the prophets for hundreds of years, but then chose to actually speak through His only Son. The very Son Who will inherit everything. But wait. It’s the same Son Who actually created the whole world!! Jesus: Creator.

But there’s more! Jesus Himself is the radiance of the glory of God. What? The KJV says “Who being the brightness of His glory. . .” Brightness. Radiance. Guess what. That word is used only once in the New Testament. It means “reflected brightness (of Christ in that He perfectly reflects the majesty of God), a shining forth.”

And Jesus carries the exact imprint of Almighty God. That rather made me think of a father and son. The kind of father and son where the son looks just like the father. A little guy who looks just like his dad. Minus the mustache of course. Like Father, like Son.

Oh. And this too: He upholds the universe by the word of His power. What do you do with the “word of your power.” What exactly can you accomplish? I try to make my kids behave with the word of my power, but there are times I think my words are falling on deaf ears. I share counsel with a friend. Words intended to help bring healing and freedom. But my words don’t actually do that. But then, stop and think about how much is actually in our universe. No, not galaxy. Universe. Billions of galaxies. Ma-zillions of stars. And um, actually, the really smart guys don’t even know precisely how many. And yet, my Jesus is the One Who carries this same universe by the word of His power. Just one word. In Greek it’s rhema, for those of you who care.

Wow. What a way to start the day. A great reminder of Who is really in charge. Not the president or the VIPs in Washington. Not the UN. Not the people at your church who’d like to control your life. Not your past or the baggage you carry with you. Not your fear. Unless of course you allow them.

It’s just Jesus. I needed the reminder. I needed my future to be brought back into focus. He’s the One in control.

12 April 2009

Random thoughts about Easter

Easter is about emptiness. 
An empty cross. 
An empty tomb.
 Christ emptying Himself to atone for my sin. 
My own emptiness apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit. 
My own emptiness in trying to find fulfillment and meaning in life apart from Christ. 

A friend recently shared a new perspective on the words Jesus spoke from the cross. One gospel records this: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Could it be that God’s wrath was ready to pour forth on those who were bruising His only Son? Could it be that Jesus’ words were really a plea on our behalf, and that it was His request for forgiveness that stopped Almighty God from "wiping us off the map?" And then as God Himself stayed His hand and turned away, even Jesus felt the abandonment and said, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”

I’d never thought of the death of Jesus in this way. Thanks Joan for sharing your vision.
Easter Sunday dinner we try to do special meal in honor of the day. Here was the spread today. 
My sweet friend Amber posted an idea that she'd tweaked a bit from a friend of hers. So I re-tweaked it and came up with these little nests for chocolate eggs. So easy and yummy. 
Just use your favorite no-bake cookie recipe, form into little nests and add the eggs! Mmmm. 

I pray your Easter Sunday is full of celebration as you ponder again the resurrection of our Jesus. 

05 April 2009

Girl stuff.

I’m in Ohio for the weekend. My sister came to visit and we traveled back with her. Yesterday was my cousin Kristin’s wedding in Indiana.

And I brought 3 girls with me. It was a girl weekend. Complete with a girl movie (Kit Kittredge), soaks in Nana’s big bathtub and pedicures. Sorry. No pictures. :o)

The girls have loved the weekend. The attention. The wedding. The “girl stuff.” Being with just Mama, Auntie and Nana.

It’s investment time for us. Just being. And loving. Things that care for our hearts. Things that let us relax and be pampered. Things that take us to deeper conversations.

After the wedding we discussed dresses and wedding traditions. The 7 year old’s favorite part is the kissing. And then the 10 year old had something very important to ask. I was expecting something big and deep. Nope. Not this time.

“Why did they have to make the chicken (at the dinner reception) so hot and spicy?”

Me: “So you didn’t finish it?”

Her: “Yes. I ate 2 and a half kabobs. I was trying to make myself get used to it.”

(This is the child that knows of a certainty that God is calling her to be a missionary doctor in India.)

*sigh* Maybe the really deep conversations will happen later. Or maybe not.

Or maybe they’ll come when I least expect them.

For now, the girls are just glad to be with me. They’ve thanked me several times for bringing them along. I translate that as “Thanks for sharing your life. Thanks for sharing these experiences with us. Thanks for loving us enough to share the joyful moments of life with us. Thanks for nurturing us. Thanks for wanting to have us along. Thanks for knowing the things we love and enjoying those things with us.”

I want to love my daughters and love them well.

Tomorrow we travel home where the guys have been shooting BB guns, wrestling and eating food at odd hours.

And we’ll put our family of Hobb(it)s back in the blender and let the whirl of life begin again in the Shire.
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