Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From My Inbox

Each day I receive a Daily Manna from the Net email with a portion of Scripture enclosed. This timely and encouraging reminder was today's post:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. --2 Peter 1:5-11

Brotherly Kindness.

In increasing measure.
Will keep you from being ... ineffective ... and unproductive ... in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Don't have these? You are:
... Nearsighted.
... Blind.
... Forgetful of the pit from which Christ dragged you.

Do have these? You will:
... Be ever more certain of God's work in your life.
... Never fall.
... Receive a rich welcome into Christ's eternal kingdom.

Thank you, Peter. I am applying all my might and resting in His transforming grace. I'll see you at the finish line.

See you there, too?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ten Things AGAIN?

I know! Two weeks in a row. Christ's return must be soon! ;-)

Ten Thoughts for 'Holy Week':

1. I do not like to consider the events leading up to the resurrection. I like bows on packages and happy endings. But I cannot seem to escape the thought this week that we who were called to share in the sufferings of Christ must first consider His sufferings. And so I {painfully} ponder...

2. To save us is pleasing to God: "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25, NIV)

3. We can only have a correct perspective on God when we balance intimacy (I have called you friends) with glory (I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself...).

4. The Christian walk is such a beautiful dichotomy: die to live. Give to gain. Have power in weakness. Bear a cross to find rest.

5. To create is God's nature: In the beginning and over and over again in our lives. We, who in Christ became new creations, are being re-newed day by day, re-fined into ever-closer similarities to our Savior. Though I must walk in obedience, I cannot change me...but God in His mercy can and does!

6. It was not possible for there to be a more terrible death for our Savior: the refined physical suffering of a death on a cross; the curse of dying on a tree; the rejection of a holy Father; the wrath of God--an eternity of hell for each person--borne in a few hours. What love is this?

7. God the Father resurrected Jesus from the dead, and in so doing, declared that BOTH sin (on the cross) and its natural-born child death (via an empty grave) were defeated! If Jesus had not died, sin would have won. If Jesus had not lived again, death would have won. But through Jesus' death and resurrection, Jesus--and and us in Him--won...for all eternity. That deserves a HALLELUJAH!

8. The power of the resurrection is the SAME POWER that is at work in us as believers! Do we truly believe that? (Considering the lack of power we walk in, I suspect that we do not.) (Ephesians 1:19-20)

9. I saw a rainbow yesterday. I remembered how God, in His mercy, covenanted with mankind never again to judge with a utterly catastrophic flood...and felt so sad. God is crying out in all creation, and in His Incarnation, and in His Word, and in His people for all mankind to see Him, to repent of their sins, and to come to Him! And how very few--so very, very few--listen.

10. Another thought bouncing around in my mind for awhile: How different would we look if we pressed in to follow God in holiness? (I Peter 1:15-16) Perhaps this needs to be unpacked on another day, as there is an awful lot here.

Welp...that's all I've got for now. This week, may you know the sorrow of the sacrifice and the resplendence of the resurrection in all their fullness!


I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. --Philippians 3:10-11, NIV

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thinking God-Thoughts

God's love changes everything.

Understanding God's unconditional love for you changes you.

It was His love that set me free to begin my weight-loss journey. What I mean is, it was understanding His love that set me free. I was fully loved just the way I was, and that brought the freedom to change.

There is so much more. I cannot even begin to express it all. But today, I heard Derwin Gray say this: "Why does God love you? Because it delights His heart to do so."

That is, it's got NOTHING to do with who you are or what you've done/are doing/will do. Isn't that AMAZING?!

And then, I thought of this verse:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. --Romans 8:1-4

And then, my mind bounced to this hymn:
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine.
Alive in Him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold, I approach the eternal throne
And claim the crown through Christ my own.
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me?
Clearly, my head is all over the place.  And so much of this is bound up in the lessons & changes I've experienced over the last several years, ones I hope to continue to get to unpack it for you here.  But for now, I'm off to keep processing it all.  I'm pretty sure this is good stuff.
His, and blessed beyond measure,
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  -Psalm 16:11, NIV

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ten Things for Second Tuesday

You remember second breakfast? From Lord of the Rings? Well, this is Second Tuesday. I know technically it is Wednesday, but since I didn't post yesterday when it was actually Tuesday, AND since what I want to post is a "Ten Things for Tuesday" list, I declare it Second Tuesday.

So there.

Now, just ten just random things (I added that extra "just" on purpose, just to mess with you):

1. I love over-sized mugs. Hot cocoa and hot tea every my over-sized mugs! Happiness!

2. Know the color of the sky as dawn is breaking, when it's just a soft blue and the trees are still black against it? That is the perfect blue.

3. When God freed and changed me 2-1/2 years ago, He REALLY changed me, in so many ways. As in, I-am-actually-a-different-person "changed me." Deep-down "changed me." In ways I continue to learn. In ways I really like. In ways I'm really, really grateful for.

4. I spent months struggling to find ways to exercise around a couple of injuries, and mostly just fell into a pit of discouragement and despair. And over-eating. But over the past 6 weeks or so, I've been able to (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) ease back into some exercise. And I'd forgotten how very much my body LOVES exercise. It's like a happy drug for my muscles. I like this happy drug. :-D

5. I suspect I overuse hand sanitizer. I don't want to hear about this from you, my lovely readers. This is confession, not correction, time. However, it is a hard habit to ease back on when it seems to work! I just made it through cold and flu season without getting ill! Whahoo!

6. I look forward to heaven more and more and more. For good reasons--I long to see my Savior and worship with perfection--and for hard reasons--I hate sin and its aftermath more than ever before. I hate the pain and rebellion that this world revels in. I hate that I so often stray when I should cling. I want to be in a place where I will never again cease to embrace the cross.

7. My dad has shared something with me a few times over the years that I see more and more as true: Life doesn't fall into neat categories the way we'd sometimes like to make it. So many times we say things like, "Your priorities are God first, then your spouse, followed by your children, then your ministry, then your neighbors..." Etcetera. Etcetera. But life is really more like a juggling act than a checklist, and sometimes you just have to do the best you can to keep the balls in the air, usually by addressing the ones in your hands right now.

8. I love rings but I have ugly hands. (I like to think of them as working hands, but still, the truth is that they aren't pretty.) And recently, my favorite ring fell off my finger (due to skinnier-than-they-used-to-be hands) and disappeared. And I am really sad over this.

9. My philosophy on hair and make-up and clothing is this: Dress so I can forget about me. I try to make myself look appropriately at the beginning of the day and touch up as needed through the day, but the reason I do so is so that I am not distracted by thoughts of me otherwise. I promise, if I came to work without mascara, I would spend my day distracted by the thought of me looking like a refugee unnecessarily. So I wear them to forget.

10. I'm very proud that I used the adverbial form (appropriately) in #9. Things like this give me hope for the world. Now you're worried, huh? ;-)

Okay, no grand promises on when I'll return again, but it sure has been nice visiting with you today. And as always, may you have eyes to see His blessings today.


...May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, "The LORD be exalted!" --Psalm 40:16, NIV