Thursday, December 25, 2008

"I want MORE!"

So today is Christmas and I realized that I am not as far ahead of my five year old as I would have hoped. Waking while it was still dark, I had to sneak down and see the children's delight at their stockings. Not long after, they opened gifts from Santa, mom and dad, bill's parents and a couple of friends. They couldn't wait to go to my parents house to have "presents" there too; along with Christmas dinner, of course. After all the gifts had long been opened, my youngest boy, Benjamin, said matter-of-factly, "I want to open MORE presents...." I was wondering at that point what I had done wrong? How have I failed as a parent? Christmas isn't about greedy "getting and getting and getting!" He has been told. And so have I. I am embarassed to admit that not 20 minutes earlier had I confessed to my mom in the kitchen that I had "hoped" she would have "surprised" me with that one sweater.....just one "MORE" thing.........I realized that Benjamin and I suffer from the same sickness. The wanting more instead of having a thankful spirit must be a generational thing. However, I intend to talk to him about it tomorrow and for myself, to move on from the wanting and embrace what I have. My Jesus IS all I need and when it comes down to it, as it should be, relating ONLY TO JESUS, "I want MORE!" Praise be to God that He would see to changing our selfish hearts, weather at five or almost thirty five! Sixty five too? Let it be, Lord!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One Word

what could it hold?
forgiveness of betrayal
restoration and peace
It would bring blessing
it would mean the debt is cancelled
it would mean inheritance restored
assurance, unity and strength
unleashing bitterness
tearing down the walls
embracing the pain
true love
dying to self
risking it all
giving Jesus the victory
for my sin is cancelled
my debt is paid
I am forgiven
I know approval
I know grace
I know redeeming love
what would it mean?
to one, everything.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Freedom to LIVE!

Through the fall, I have been reading The Search For Significance by Robert S. McGee; fittingly subtitled, "Seeing your True Worth through God's Eyes." I have had many opportunities to put this material to good use. Most recently, I have been processing my family dynamics and relationships. What I have found is that we learn more about God's supremacy through experiencing people's shortcomings. How would we really know that God is everything we need if we were never in a "seeking but coming up short" position? McGee asserts that "all intimacy in a relationship comes from communicating our feelings to one another;" I might have to agree. God wants our hearts. He desires to know our feelings. He wants us to crawl up into his "Daddy lap" and tell him our desires, hopes, fears, dreams. He cares how we feel. Yet, he is beyond our feelings. He made us. He knows how we feel before we tell him. He knows our needs. He is with us in every joy and struggle.
Yesterday I watched my youngest brother accept his penalty for his third DUI. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison, a heavier consequence than we had expected. All he could do was receive this judgment and express his remorse over what he had done. Then, in to the handcuffs and on to a different sort of life than any of us ever hope to experience.
At bedtime last night, my youngest boy asked a thought-provoking question. While discussing how everything costs money; we have to pay for the house, the car, our food and clothes, etc, Benjamin asked "Did anybody pay for me?" "Well, yes," I said, "Jesus did." He inquired, "How, mom? With money?" I explained. "Jesus paid for you with his blood. God's justice required somebody perfect to die to pay for the sins of fallen man, and Jesus was the only one that could pay the price.....and he did it, for me, for you, to pay for us." Jesus' death bought us eternal life in Heaven with God the Father, but not only that. Jesus' death brought us freedom. SO MUCH FREEDOM! Even for somebody behind bars.
The freedom that Jesus brought to believers through his death is the freedom discussed in The Search For Significance. It's freedom from the condemnation that we want to place on ourselves for not measuring up to our own expectations. It's freedom from the judgment that we feel when we think we don't measure up to what others think we ought to be. It's freedom to live for an audience of ONE! This freedom is beyond human comprehension. I think it will take a lifetime to embrace and then we still won't fully understand it until we see our Savior face to face.
This freedom enables the believer to stand in a storm.
It empowers us to embrace suffering, trusting the ONE who sent the struggle.
It inspires us to live for eternity, and not for this ever-changing temporal world.
It motivates us to make a difference for God's Kingdom, working hard to reap a harvest of righteousness.
It gives us strength to keep doing the right thing, even when we are tired and feel we can't anymore.
It gives us hope.
The Freedom we have is Christ Himself. He is Freedom. He is life. He is life to the full. He is everything we will ever need. We just need to see Him as He is.
Can a 26 year old see Him in a prison cell for 6 months?
Can a five year old see Him and glimpse his glorious plan for mankind?
Can a lonely single see Him and find hope for new life?
How about a stressed-out businessman, or a frazzled housewife? A farmer? A computer tech? A divorcee? An orphan or widow? A prostitute? The mailman? The check-out guy at Costco? The personal trainer? Extended family?
You get my point. ALL need to see Jesus and find the Freedom only HE can bring.
Are we pointing people to Jesus in how we live? Do they see Jesus when they look at our lives? We are Free to embrace his wisdom and power to accomplish His purposes with our lives, will we Choose to Find our Significance in JESUS?