Friday, February 29, 2008
Did I mention I can’t wait?
MK 9:2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.
MK 6:30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
Thank you Lord for your example of service and thank you that you also recognize that we all need a quiet place where we can get some rest.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
On any given day I can fully comprehend one aspect of a particular scripture, yet other concepts and meanings are shaded from my mind until I am ready to understand them. When I began this journey with Christ, I was an infant, I had no spiritual teeth. I had to be spoon fed very slowly, and take things in manageable chunks. As mothers we know the danger of feeding our small children certain foods before they are ready. As a responsible mother we would never give an infant a T-bone steak before they had even developed their teeth. Being a Christian is a process, a wonderful life changing process but there are times when the process is difficult and confusing. Even now after fifteen years of studying God’s word I still find things that confuse me. It took me many years to learn the benefit of a grown up healthy diet of digesting and chewing on the word of God. By this I mean really taking a deeper look at what it means for my life and how to apply what I learn in all that I do.
I ran across a very small verse that is sandwiched (more food metaphors) in the book of Romans in my study time this week.
RO 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
So through “endurance and encouragement” I must continue to search everyday for the lesson in the words that were written “in the past” for my life today. It gives me real tangible evidence that God’s word is as living and active today as it has ever been. Even when I come upon a concept that confuses me I endure with my study and at the appropriate time I will be encouraged. I know that in God’s timing things will fall into place and the light and truth of what it is that I am supposed to be learning will be cemented in my life.
As I prepare over the next few day for a weekend retreat with the women of my church I approach this time on the mountain with great expectation. I am in desperate need of time away. I am in desperate need of a fresh encounter with the living God. I am hungry for a revelation from God’s word that was “written in the past” to be opened to me in the present.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Hupotasso, we talked about this word in Sunday school and we heard it preached about from the pulpit as well.
Hupotasso, it sounds like a foreign language, in fact it is Greek, but I just like the way the word sounds. Hoop-ot-as’-so, it sounds like something delicious that is served with a side of gravy or the name for a beloved household cat. I just like saying it, it kinda rolls of the southern tongue. The technical southern pronunciation is probably closer to “Hoooop-A-Taaa-sooo”
All seriousness aside the reality of the word is far from something you smother with gravy and serve with a side of home fries.
So what is Hupotasso? Being submissive might actually be easier to swallow if it really was smothered in gravy and served with fires, but in reality it is at times very difficult to practice, an even more difficult to yield to the true meaning of the word. I love the word Hupotasso, Greek translation meaning submission. The Greek lexicon defines the word as the following:
- to arrange under, to subordinate
- to subject, put in subjection
- to subject one's self, obey
- to submit to one's control
- to yield to one's admonition or advice
- to obey, be subject
Being submissive, is there possible any biblical topic that is more abused than this one, we discussed at great length exactly what it meant to submit in our relationship with Christ. What it meant to submit in our relationship with our spouse, or our close friends or our co-workers. I will admit it was a lively discussion.
When I think of the act of submission, I will admit to a very wide range of visual images parading through my mind. Some of them have very negative connotations associated with the subject mater, but all of these negative things are all worldly in origin. However, when we focus on what it means to be submissive as Christ was submissive unto the cross our definition is refocused and we lose the negative connotations all together.
Chris is our perfect example of the true definition of submission. He showed us how to be a servant to others, he washed the disciple’s feet, and we must follow his example. Christ showed us all how to love others more that we love ourselves. He showed us how to obey the will of our Heavenly Father even when He asked for the cup to be removed from Him in the garden. Yet in the moment that followed that painful request He submitted Himself the authority and was ultimate turned over to be crucified.
Where would we be today if He had not submitted Himself to the ultimate act of obedience to His Heavenly Father.
I may bristle a bit at the concept of submission, but when I look at it with the eyes of faith I see that is truly an act of love. When I put the needs of others in front of my own I am being submissive. When I yield my will in favor of obedience then I am being submissive, when I serve I am being submissive.
It is not weak to be submissive, Christ was the very example of strength and He got down on His hands and knees and washed the dirty feet of twelve men, just to mention one in the numerous act of service He modeled for us. So let’s make an effort to redefine the discipline of submission. What do I need to submit to in my life? Who do I need to submit to? Who do I need to serve? What do I need to yield to?
Saturday, February 23, 2008
This morning I was reading in the book of Romans, chapter 14 where Paul talks about not placing a stumbling block in the way of our brothers and sisters.
RO 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
In thinking about this I made the connection that I need to be very careful of my actions. When I am dealing with new believers and even people that I may come in contact with in my every day dealings, that I do not let my action or my words place any stumbling blocks in any one's paths. My words and my actions reflect who I am and where my heart is. As a believer we need to "make up my mind not to put any stumbling block or obsticle" in any ones path. I need to be very careful in how we speak and how we act in the everyday world, because when we interact with others and we do not reflect the love of Christ we have in our hearts, we can either un-intentionally or intentionally leave a very large stumbling block in our wake. When people see us (and I mean me) interacting in a way that does not reflect Christ it gives them the wrong picture of what being a Christian is all about.
It makes me very sad when I think of all the times I fail miserably at this, most of the time I only recognize a failure in hindsight, an then I wish I could go back and change what I said or did. I am thankful that I can always ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness as well as a new opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ I have in my heart to those I come in contact with.
I can try to be a building block for Jesus, not a stumbling block of the world.
I can remember :
- I don’t have to be first in line.
- I don’t have to get there before the car in front of me.
- My time is not more valuable than yours.
- I can smile even when I don’t feel like it.
- I can say please and thank you.
- I can be patient in the check out line at the Wal-Mart even if there is a mother with her two cranky toddlers in front of me.
- I don’t need to have the last word.
- I don’t have to participate in gossip.
- Not to honk at the car in front of me if they take more that a second to move through the green light.
- To treat you as I would want to be treated.
- To leave the table at the Chic-Fil-A (or any place I have been) cleaner than I found it.
- I can do something for someone without expecting anything in return.
- I can admit I’m wrong.
- I can say I’m sorry.
- I can ask for forgiveness.
- I can say “I Love YOU!”
- I can say “Jesus loves you!”
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
ISA 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
I guess my point in all of this is very simple. The next time you are impacted even in a small way or a large way by someone let them know. You never know how your words of appreciation, praise or comfort will impact the other person. It may be just the thing they need to hear at just the right moment.
Friday, February 15, 2008
What I did notice, and was somewhat encouraged by, were the photographs of the students shown on the morning news. These images, interspersed with footage of people being carried into ambulances splattered with blood were a jarring contrast, a young woman kneeling down and embracing another student, several students, most of whom were responding with postures of prayer gathered together weeping. One picture of a young man on his knees with his face tight with anguish eyes close to the unreality of the situation with his hand folded in front of him in prayer. Next, a circle of young people holding flickering candles in the cold night singing praise songs to the Lord. Pictures and love notes placed in the snow as a memorial for the dead. How does this happen?
Psychologist can try to explain it with fancy words or complicated sounding syndromes, but all I see is evil plain and simple.
This world and these deeply disturbed individuals need the healing restoration that comes from accepting Christ into their heart. It again brings home the truth for me of just how important our prayers are. We need to be daily lifting up our young people, for their choices, for their decisions and for their safety. I wonder if this young man who committed this horrible act of evil had anyone praying for him, my guess is probably not. If he had his life might have been profoundly different? This all just makes me very sad.
I encourage you all to take a moment to pray for all those who have over the course of these last few months been involved in this rash of thoughtless violence. God can reign down His peace and love on everyone, and that is something this world and all of us so desperately need.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
This gives me a thought, “What can I really live without. What action, what food, what pastime, whatever can I live without for forty days? Jesus went with out food for forty days in the desert and was temped by the devil all the wile to boot. I however I have a hard time with the concept of going for forty days with out my morning coffee or my favorite television show.
However I am given a seed of encouragement in that as well as denying oneself I can also adopt a new activity that will bring me closer to Christ. This Lenten season I have decided to add something new to my life. Something that I hope will grow me to a deeper level of spiritual maturity. The in-depth study of God’s word! I have participated in formal Bible studies for a long time but over the past few years the turmoil in my life had given way to paring down any unnecessary activity in favor of just surviving from day to day. Don’t get me wrong, God’s word is always a very important part of my day as well as my prayer time, but I had not formally participated in a Bible study for almost a year possible longer. I began to feel a bit worn out and a bit beat up by the circumstances of life and the thought of being covered in the word was somehow a wonderful opportunity for regeneration. I want to soak up all the new energy that the Scriptures have to offer. I wait with anticipation for what God has in store for me as I begin this study.
So, what can I really live with out? As I examine my life for the unnecessary or the irrelevant I find that I can give up a half an hour of sleep to meet my bible in the early morning. I find that I can turn the television off in the afternoon before my daughter comes home to finish up the day’s reading assignment. I find that I can rearrange my weekly schedule to make time on a Wednesday morning to attend the group meetings. So in adding something to my life I am also given the opportunity to give something up as well.
God is so wonderful in al he does. He never makes a mistake and He never places anything in our path without purpose. It is up to us his people to look for His will in our lives.
Let us all wait with wonderful expectation of the amazing celebration of the Empty Tomb!
In His Name
Happy Valentines Day! I hope it is filled with warmth and Love.