Glory to the Newborn King

christ is king

Vasari, Giorgio, The Nativity, c. 1546

If we exalt Christ, we elevate Him to a high rank or position in our lives–our heart, mind and spirit.  Are you allowing Christ the King to reign there right now…in these last days leading up to Christmas?  Or do you sense other stuff vying for that place of position in your life right now?  I am overwhelmed at the thought of all of the things to do and the things I COULD do right now and in this next week.  Yet the only thing I want to be overwhelmed by is His coming in the flesh.

Through the incarnation, we are able to see clearly, the Son of God, as our King. The incarnation shows us our King in the flesh, allows us to hear others proclaim His Kingship and hear Him proclaim it. For me, seeing the scriptures that declare Christ as King spanning the Old Testament through the New Testament renews a sense of joy and awe in me.  It brings me to my knees.  This is the very place I want to be at as I approach Christmas.

Have you ever looked at Jesus’ life prophesied, lived, ended and resurrected in light of His Kingship?

For your own meditation, I’ve recorded some of the scriptures I found to shed light on His Kingship. These are just some and, together, they tell the story of Jesus…Beyond the Nativity. While there are a lot of scriptures here, I encourage you to read them all in one sitting for a deeper sense of continuity among the passages.   You will be blessed in reading through them all!

After reading through these, I have a sense that I need to allow scripture to speak for itself here. So I end this devotional and this blogging through the Christmas season with scripture along with one question and a song at the very end.  Merry Christmas!  May you and yours be blessed as you turn toward the Lord and His marvelous reign over us this Christmas and always!

Daniel 4:3

3 How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

 Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness
 from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Luke 1:31-33

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

 Matthew 2:2-6

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

 Zechariah 9:9

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

 Hebrews 1:1-2

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 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.

John 1: 49-51

49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

 Matthew 13:44

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

 Luke 8:1

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

 Luke 23:2

And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”

 Matthew 21:1-5

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 Luke 19:36-40

36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

 John 18:33-37

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34. Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35. Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36. Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”37. Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth…”

 Matthew 27:29

and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

 John 19:14, 19-22

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He [Pilate] said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

 Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking 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.

 Revelation 19

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 17:14

14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

 Revelation 11:15

15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

What is God’s Word doing in your heart today as you see the thread of Christ’s kingship throughout the bible? Praise the King!  Listen to Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

This is a devotional from my Christmas Kindle book, Beyond the Nativity, available this week for only.99! Reviews on Amazon would be so appreciated!

cover from amazon

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His Purpose – To Become Our High Priest

high priest wk2 day5

Saraceni, Carlo, The Birth of Christ, c.1610

Hebrews 7:24-28

“24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

The longer I walk with Christ, the more I see my need for a perfectly holy high priest to intercede for me…constantly.  How comforting it is to know that Jesus always lives to make intercession for me…for us.  He lives to bring our requests to the Father.  If I thought this through each day would my prayer life change?  I wonder…just what his intercession looks like…sounds like…what are the words.  Jesus has words for you with the Father.  Can you imagine it?

Certainly all sorts of words and conversations have happened about us with others…some good…some maybe we’d just rather not hear.  This is one conversation we can be sure is never hurtful and never disappointing.  He lives to intervene for us.  He is always pointing to Himself and His perfect offering made for us.  He is always pleading our case for us based on His blood and merits.

And He has saved us to the UTTERMOST…we who draw near to God through Christ. He saved us completely and forever with that one offering.  Is there an uttermost sin that you won’t even allow yourself to contemplate?  If you are trusting in Christ…even that one has been handled.

 My husband sometimes calls me his “little extremist”.  Even though I’ve learned not to use extreme talk, it still comes out of me at times.  Words like “you always” or “I always” or “it will NEVER work” or “I’ll NEVER get this.”  I don’t want to use this talk but, unfortunately, it is something I’m working on.  This passage uses extreme talk, but it is GOOD extreme talk!  My husband can’t be disappointed with me if I quote this verse!  The writer pours it on here because this is the ultimate high priest.  The babe in a manger is the last in a long series because He was the only one who was perfect and the only one to last forever.  Take a look at the underlined words in this passage that show intensity of perfection.  The writer surely wants to convey to us our extremely high privilege to have THE perfect high priest.

Meditate on the above verses and especially the words that show Jesus’s perfection.  Praise God for sending a perfect priest to us.  Listen to O Holy Night.

This is a devotional from my Christmas Kindle book, Beyond the Nativity, available this week for only.99! Reviews on Amazon would be so appreciated!

cover from amazon

Beyond the Nativity consists of twenty devotions (four weeks of devotions at five devotions per week).  A different theme of the incarnation is presented for each week.

Week 1: The Description
Week 2: The Purpose
Week 3: The Manifestation
Week 4: The Importance and Rewards

Each week’s meditation topic has five devotions which include a scripture with a short devotion to read and a historical artistic piece to view. Some of the devotions include lyrics to a traditional Christmas hymn.

Is it possible that people who love Jesus strive so hard to keep the nativity in mind during Christmas that our celebrating is mostly about that one moment of Christ’s birth?  While that is right and wonderful, we can go deeper by meditating on more than the moment of or the story of His birth. Thinking upon the deep aspects of God coming to us in the flesh has the ability to give us great joy throughout the Christmas season and throughout the year.  I pray that you are blessed as you think upon Emmanuel, God With Us, this Christmas.

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Born of a Woman

 

Correggio

Correggio, Nativity (Holy Night), 1528-30

 Galations 4:4-5

“4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Aren’t you glad that “the fullness of time” had come over 2,000 years ago and that you are on this side of that mark in time?  Our God allowed being born into our world like us in order to be born under the law, live the perfect life we could not, die on the cross and be raised to new life.

Martin Luther once said that, “”Nearly the entire Scripture and the understanding of all theology hangs on the right understanding of law and gospel.” He also wrote: “Whoever knows well how to distinguish the gospel from the law should give thanks to God and know that he is a real theologian.”  Are you able to do that…to distinguish the gospel from the law? If so, we can praise God that He has given us good teaching from His Word and from the people He has called to disciple us.  Most of all, we can praise Him today for sending His Son in order to make a difference between the gospel and the law. For taking us as slaves to the law and making us adopted children of God. Now free to live as one of God’s own…out of gratefulness instead of striving to be accepted.

There is no shortage of things we think we can do to get God’s acceptance and blessing in the household of Christ: be good people, go to church, pray, serve, go to Sunday school, and on and on and on.  Praise God that we have full acceptance already through Christ’s perfection. There is no need to add up our merits or demerits.  We have all of Christ’s merits.  This is our inheritance, a gift to us from the gift Himself.

C.H. Spurgeon once said:

“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you’ll never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not your hold on Christ that saves you — it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you — it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument — it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but Jesus, the source of your hope — look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh on your mind; when you wake in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him.”

These are thoughts I’m asking today…

Am I moved to be in awe of how far God has gone to rescue and care for me?  How does his rescuing and care impact my attitudes and actions in my current daily circumstances?  How would focusing on His rescuing and care of me vs. my own actions change my heart and walk with Christ?

cover from amazon

This is an excerpt from my Christmas devotional Kindle book, Beyond the Nativity, available this week for only.99!  Reviews on Amazon would be so appreciated!

Beyond the Nativity consists of twenty devotions (four weeks of devotions at five devotions per week).  A different theme of the incarnation is presented for each week.

Week 1: The Description
Week 2: The Purpose
Week 3: The Manifestation
Week 4: The Importance and Rewards

Each week’s meditation topic has five devotions which include a scripture with a short devotion to read and a historical artistic piece to view. Some of the devotions include lyrics to a traditional Christmas hymn.

Is it possible that people who love Jesus strive so hard to keep the nativity in mind during Christmas that our celebrating is mostly about that one moment of Christ’s birth?  While that is right and wonderful, we can go deeper by meditating on more than the moment of or the story of His birth. Thinking upon the deep aspects of God coming to us in the flesh has the ability to give us great joy throughout the Christmas season and throughout the year.  I pray that you are blessed as you think upon Emmanuel, God With Us, this Christmas.

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The Radical Ordinary

DSCN0044.2

My last post on The Jesus Ripple Effect seemed to resonate with many of my readers.  In it I pondered the radical life of simply following the Lord through turning away from sin and loving others.  So I’m revisiting a post from over a year ago while I prepare to blog over the Christmas season.  This blog post was titled The Radical Ordinary.  In it, I reminded myself that living a simple life as a Christian can be radical.

This Thanksgiving I happen to be pondering how thankful I am for simply living life in Christ.   Sometimes I’m tempted to think that life can be mundane and that I’m missing out on something.  I mistakenly accept the lie that I should be doing something “bigger.”  I take for granted the blessing of simply living the abundant radical life in Christ. If you struggle with the same at times, I pray you find this post encouraging.

I also pray that you find joy in the abundant radical life in Christ this season.  Happy Thanksgiving!

DSCN1055.3

Do you ever need strength and courage to live just an ordinary day?

Sometimes I feel like I’m washing dishes all day.  Like today.  I could almost promise you that I stood at the sink non-stop.  I’m not complaining really.  I’m thankful that I have dishes to wash because that means we had food to eat.  I’m just saying that some days it seriously feels as if I washed dishes all day.  Some days I feel joyful about that.  Some days I feel like I might go crazy.

Tonight my little girl took out her stethoscope to check my heart.  She said she could barely hear my heart.  I asked her what she thought was wrong.  She said that maybe it wasn’t working really good because it was night time and I was tired.  I wondered if maybe it really was as cold and hard as it sounded to her.

Yesterday was a different kind of day though…no ordinary day.  It was our anniversary.  It wasn’t just our anniversary of marriage 8 years ago but my anniversary for entering into a more “ordinary” life.  The BEST day of my life.

DSCN1001.3

Before marrying my husband I enjoyed living a somewhat exciting lifestyle.  I enjoyed traveling around the country for a sales job and living in the inner city of St. Louis doing missions work among refugees. I was drawn to the idea of living a radical life for Christ.  For me, that played out in leaving St. Louis county and moving to the inner city with a few other like-minded friends.  It seems that the moment I married, my entire life turned completely upside down.  It wasn’t just my status: Single to Married.  In the year that I married, I went from the previously mentioned lifestyle to living in a small town (my hometown) and leaving my job to stay home with our first child which was born just before our first anniversary. I felt that my entire identity had been altered.   Although I loved my new life, I also felt it went from being exciting and a bit “radical” to quite ordinary.

This ordinary life can feel hard some days because Jesus calls me to love my husband and children well.  There are all kinds of ordinary moments that must be attended to.  Dishes, laundry, guinea pig cage, dog, laundry, dishes, homeschool, make food, dishes, food, dishes, food, dishes!!!  All of this ordinary stuff which adds up to ultimately loving my family well.   These miniscule acts that, if left undone, leaves a family undone.

It takes courage and strength.  And really I don’t have it.  I don’t have what it takes in my flesh to love my family well all of the time.  But I do have Jesus.

Thank God I have Jesus and He is showing a selfish girl how to yield to His Spirit in everyday ordinary life.  Even on days when my heart feels cold and my little girl tells me something is wrong.  I wouldn’t give up a single moment of this ordinary life for a day of what I had before.

But for some reason today had it’s harder-than-normal moments. So I’m thankful for a blog post that I stumbled upon.  It was a blog post written over at The Well Blog by Trish Harrison Warren.  It helped me to see anew that perhaps the ordinary life isn’t so ordinary.  That it is truly extraordinary when we choose not to wallow negatively in the ordinariness of it.  But to see it for what it is.  She said:

“Now, I’m a thirty-something with two kids living a more or less ordinary life. And what I’m slowly realizing is that, for me, being in the house all day with a baby and a two-year-old is a lot more scary and a lot harder than being in a war-torn African village [She had been there before]. What I need courage for is the ordinary, the daily every-dayness of life. Caring for a homeless kid is a lot more thrilling to me than listening well to the people in my home. Giving away clothes and seeking out edgy Christian communities requires less of me than being kind to my husband on an average Wednesday morning or calling my mother back when I don’t feel like it.”

Does anyone else feel that?  If you’re not married stay with me here because perhaps you find it hard to / need courage to love your neighbor, your family, a challenging friend or co-worker(s).

I think she’s onto something.  Loving the people in our lives well is the single most radical thing we can do.  It makes the ordinary extraordinary.  It’s radical because Jesus Christ commands it.  It’s what He did perfectly.  It’s what sets the Christian apart from the world.

Or maybe the most radical thing in the world is to live well a life that isn’t just ordinary but a great disappointment.  Maybe it is a disappointment because you’re not married or maybe it’s a disappointment because you are.  Maybe your marriage and / or family itself isn’t a disappointment but there are many disappointments within it.

A friend told me this week that she plans on living a victorious life trusting God is working in her and in her situation despite the fact that so many seasons and aspects of her life have been and are hugely disappointing.  Though she doesn’t feel God has blessed her in many areas, she is choosing to trust God that He is still there caring for her and active in her life.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12: 30-31).

Is it any wonder that the greatest commandment was this?  This is how we love well and this is how the world will know Christ.

By continuing to love God and trust Him and love others well in this ordinary life of ours.

DSCN1057 3

I’ll finish this post with Trish Harrison Warren’s final paragraphs of her blog post:

“And here is the embarrassing truth: I still believe in and long for a revolution. I still think I can make a difference beyond just my front door. I still want to live radically for Jesus and be part of him changing the world. I still think mediocrity is dull, and I still fret about settling.
But I’ve come to the point where I’m not sure anymore just what God counts as radical. And I suspect that for me, getting up and doing the dishes when I’m short on sleep and patience is far more costly and necessitates more of a revolution in my heart than some of the more outwardly risky ways I’ve lived in the past. And so this is what I need now: the courage to face an ordinary day — an afternoon with a colicky baby where I’m probably going to snap at my two-year old and get annoyed with my noisy neighbor — without despair, the bravery it takes to believe that a small life is still a meaningful life, and the grace to know that even when I’ve done nothing that is powerful or bold or even interesting that the Lord notices me and is fond of me and that that is enough.
I’ve read a lot of really good discussions lately about the recent emphasis on “radical” Christianity (see one at an InterVarsity blog and one at Christianity Today). This Radical Christian movement is responsible for a lot of good, and I’m grateful that I’ve been irrevocably shaped by it for some fifteen years. When we fearfully cling to the status quo and the comfortable, we must be challenged by the call of a life-altering, comfort-afflicting Jesus. But for those of us — and there are a lot of us — who are drawn to an edgy, sizzling spirituality, we need to embrace radical ordinariness and to be grounded in the challenge of the stable mundaneness of the well-lived Christian life. “
EMBRACING RADICAL ORDINARINESS TODAY!
The full article can be found here:Courage in the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren

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The Jesus Ripple Effect

Water Ripples and Greenery

I want beauty in my life.

I want it to be in the form of refreshment for myself and others.

I want to see Jesus more in my life.

I want the Jesus ripple effect.

I see it play out in chapter seven of the second book of Corinthians. This beauty and refreshment released in the lives who make up the body of Christ. It happened when they repented and turned toward God and others in love.

Chapter six tells us God’s word to us about himself:

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

We are then immediately commanded by Paul, in light of the above promises, to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

We aren’t to cleanse ourselves in a legalistic way in order to gain a way to God or to keep from losing God.  It is a cleansing because of God’s promises.  A cleansing out of gratefulness, joy and awe about being one of God’s people and He being our God.

In chapter seven, we see how repentance played out among the Corinthians.  It was beautiful. A response to the gospel with godly sorrow and repentance.

Here is what my Gospel Transformation Bible says about it:

“To see gospel transformation in action, consider these movements of grace: Paul receives comfort in his affliction from Christ.  This gives him the confidence and grace to write a difficult letter to the Corinthians in which he speaks the truth in love.  Their response is godly sorrow that leads to repentance.  Their repentance leads to a renewed zeal for godliness.  As they are refreshed by the Spirit, they become a source of refreshment-bringing joy to their leaders through their obedience to the gospel.  In turn, Titus experiences rejuvenation, which causes Paul to rejoice all the more.  The gospel transformation is beautifully personal and interpersonal.”

This is the Jesus ripple effect.

I used to think that to live a radical Christian life I needed to take part in something that looked like a big action or lifestyle.  Like going on a missions trip or changing where I lived. I’ve changed my mind. Following Jesus and submitting to the commands of the bible is the radical life in this day and age. Submitting to the Lord and repenting of sin IS the radical life because it is the rare person in the world who does it.  It’s not wrong to go on a missions trip or to move in order to live among people God is calling you to. It is wrong to think you HAVE to do that in order to get God’s approval or in order to be a radical Christian.  Simply following Christ and His commands is radical.

What would the Jesus ripple effect be if those who call themselves Christians really followed Christ? If we took seriously repentance? If we really believed not just His word about grace but also His word  about how He longs for His family to live. That we have a need for Him, not just at that moment when we decide to believe, but every moment every day as we trust Him.

What would it look like if we worshiped Him through repentance, a turning from sin toward Him and others?

This would be radical for me.  To move in love TOWARD others who sin against me.  To move in love toward others who I WANT to sin against.

Not just people who are at a distance but even my husband and children in the moments when they feel most offensive to me.

I don’t want to ever underestimate the power of the gospel.  To shake my head at the thought of writing a difficult letter. To shake my head at the thought of moving toward a family member who is acting ugly. To shake my head and turn against myself in anger.  

What will happen in my life as I do the difficult thing that my flesh feels least like doing buy my heart longs for?

I begin to begin again right here in my own home today.  My daughter just asked me for a fourth thing since she woke five minutes ago.  I just stopped the big sigh and rolling of the eyes and I’m moving toward her in love.  There will be many more opportunities today!

Lord, will you cause the ripple effect in my life as I submit to you? Will you show me where I need to submit, repent and move toward others?

I want to see gospel transformation in action.  Are you seeing it in your life?  If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Photo credit: Google images: http://inreland.blogspot.com/2012/02/ripples-from-heavens-glimpse-into-life.html

Linking up this week with these inspiring ladies:

Photobucket   Chronicles of Grace sunday-stillness-button     Grab button for Faith Along the Way Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday Missional WomenFF Z Font Fellowship Fridays #45  The Watered Soul  “countingmyblessings"  1114updatedbutton   Imparting Gracesaving4six    Creative K Kids      7 Days Time   whimsical-wednesdays_edited-1   WHHWButton200X200I Choose Joy!    Photobucket

 

News that is Praiseworthy

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The leaves are looking more brown than red now days and most are on the ground.  We had our first frost this week with a low of twenty-six .   I do believe I feel the earth tilting farther away from the sun.

But the glorious sunrise and some good news warms my heart this chilly November morning.

The headlines of our national and world news are far from encouraging.  Are you as weary as I am?

A plague of terror and a plague of sickness seem to reign over the minds of the world.  In between those two topics, there are others: school shootings, kidnappings, murders, political wars and more.

Aside from these items, I have my own personal wars to fight.  Battles in my heart with time, thoughts, words, parenting and marriage seem to clamor for my attention.  Battles between flesh and spirit.

The more I experience life, the more I realize there is a real spiritual battle going on.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

After I read the morning’s headlines, I turned to the Good News.  Praise God that I just happen to be in 2 Corinthians chapters 3 – 5.

This is what I found…

Ebola will be completed eliminated and all terrorism will be abolished!

All of my personal struggles will be wiped out!

“For the things that are seen are transient and the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

And there is more…

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Our faithfulness to looking to eternal things in the midst of our challenges is our witness to this aching world.  The result is that the Good News extends to those around us and God is glorified.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

We are fragile but there is Good News in our fragility.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11)

And if it wasn’t good enough news for us to be changed as we look to the eternal and for God to be glorified as we do so,we have more.

Shockingly, we are also being transformed into the image of God’s glory.

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?” (2 Corinthians 4:7-8)

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.” (2 Corinthians 4:12-13)

“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.”

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16, 18)

In the mundane of life, I long for an exciting encounter with the presence of God.  Who wouldn’t want a Moses experience?  This passage tells us that we have it!

Christians, through Christ, can now behold the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face. There is no barrier between a person found in Christ and a holy God.

This access to God is limitless, free from shame and is the means that He uses to transform us into His image.

Now THAT’S a headline.

May the headlines of our day, turn our hearts to worship and meditate on what is eternal and God’s lovely promises.

May they spur us on to remember the news that is praiseworthy!

Linking up with these refreshing and inspiring sites this week:

Photobucket   Chronicles of Grace sunday-stillness-button     Grab button for Faith Along the Way Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday Missional WomenFF Z Font Fellowship Fridays #45  The Watered Soul  “countingmyblessings"   Imparting Gracesaving4six    Creative K Kids      7 Days Time   whimsical-wednesdays_edited-1   WHHWButton200X200Family Home and LifeI Choose Joy!    Photobucket

 

 

 

 

 

Trusting in the Name of the Lord Our God

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That sweet moment when you’re brought back to gospel sanity.

The truth, once again, falls fresh on your heart and mind and you feel like you’ve heard it anew.  Like it is the most amazing fresh insight from God.

That it is for sure.

You know it must be from God because who longs for the beauty of death unless you have the Holy Spirit who brings just that?

Like the beauty of the yellow dying leaves changing and falling around me, my life could be similar.

As I die to myself a bit more, will I change too? Actually become more like Him…more beautiful?

I have been striving. Counting my own muscles…skills…abilities.  Thinking about my brain’s abilities and lack of.  Instead of God.  Has God called me to homeschool or not? Has he called me to parent? Marriage?  Has he called me to be a pastor’s wife? Has he called me to ministry of writing?

What has He called you to in this season of life?

Do you struggle, like me, with feeling like you can’t quite get some of these roles right?  Maybe you long for them to be perfect and they’re not.

I am not sure what I’m seeking but it might be perfection from myself or approval from others. Perhaps it is my own approval.  I am seeking more strength and an improved mind.  Perhaps that last one is a good thing. But it can’t be the only thing.  I need to first and foremost seek God to provide all that I need for that which He has called me to. Perhaps even come to understand and be OK with the fact that  I can’t.  I don’t have it. But say, “Come through for me, please.”

Instead of wondering and counting abilities.  Perhaps I can just say this, “Lord, will you provide all I need this week for parenting well, loving my husband well, homeschooling well, studying well. writing well, ministering well.”

“I need you. I don’t have what it takes to do all of this and to do it well. But for some reason I feel called to all of these things to some degree.  Help me to know how much and when. Help me to know how.  Give me the brain and abilities to do it.  Give me your joy. Your peace. Your clarity and organized thoughts.  I don’t have it.  But that is good. Because you are sufficient for me.  When I am weak you are strong.  Come through Lord.  I yield.”

I was confronted with this quote by Tim Keller today:

“If you make anything else besides the real God your god, you’ll never find mercy from that god; it will always punish you.  A false god can’t die for you if you fail it…it can only punish you and demand more from you.”

I heard this moments before taking communion. Before being strengthened by his body broken for me and blood shed for me.

As I took in the bread and wine, I was thankful to find mercy from the one true God.

Approval from anyone other than God will never be enough.  Something tells me that if I could come up with enough strength on my own to do all I am called to do, it would never be enough.  It would only punish me and demand more.

“May he grant you your heart’s desire
    and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
    he will answer him from his holy heaven
    with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

-Psalm 20:4-7

Linking up with these refreshing and inspiring sites this week:

Photobucket   Chronicles of Grace sunday-stillness-button     Grab button for Faith Along the Way Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday Missional WomenFF Z Font Fellowship Fridays #45  The Watered Soul  “countingmyblessings"   Imparting Gracesaving4six    Creative K Kids      7 Days Time   whimsical-wednesdays_edited-1   WHHWButton200X200Family Home and LifeI Choose Joy!    Photobucket