Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Than A Baby

One of the highlights of Christmas when I was a little girl was the manger scene on the corner of our church lawn. For the month of December it sat in serene surroundings and was lit up every evening. Baby Jesus hadn’t been born yet—the manger was empty. Then, miraculously on Christmas morning He appeared in the manger as Mary and Joseph looked on in adoration. 

During the Christmas season it’s natural to think of Jesus as a baby. We tell the story of His birth in a stable because there wasn’t room at the inn. Because the details about Jesus’ childhood are missing, other than His visit to the temple when He was twelve, it’s easy to forget that this baby grew into the man whose three year ministry took Him to the cross. 

I’ve seen portrayals of Christ on the cross depicted in artwork and jewelry. His sacrifice is vivid, though hard to imagine. The miracle of the cross is that Jesus didn’t stay there. On the third day He rose, by the power of the Holy Spirit—victorious over sin and death. 

After His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with His followers and then was taken up in the clouds as they looked on (Acts 1:9-11). He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The angels proclaimed that Jesus would come again. He now sits at the right hand of God. But, what does He do there? What’s His role? He is no longer the Christmas baby and He is no longer a prisoner to the punishment of the cross. 

Hebrews 5: 8-10 says that He is our High Priest, the one Who paid the sin-debt on my behalf and on behalf of the whole world, and He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:22-27). This is a comforting and awesome thought—to know that Jesus is praying for me! He prays that I will not fail and that I will finish the race of faith. He prays that I will be strengthened when going through tough times. And, He intercedes when I bring my needs and requests.  

Though He’s no longer a baby, I welcome Him as my Christmas child, born in a lowly (and smelly) stable signifying His message is for all people, no matter their status. No longer on the cross, I praise Him for my salvation won there. I embrace Him as my Savior and risen, victorious Lord. He’s not walking among us any longer yet I am thankful that He has not left me alone. His promised Spirit has come to indwell all who recognize their need of Him. His spirit indwells every believer, equipping them to live with a heart that is forgiven and right before God.

You and I will no longer find Jesus in the manger, nor will we find Him still on the cross of Calvary. The Christmas miracle is recognizing Him—King of Kings and Lord of Lords with arms outstretched, inviting us to live in His presence for eternity.

Enjoying the hope of Christmas,


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for, but I admit I can be remiss in remembering to say thanks for things, to others and to God. I get so busy that I forget or overlook them, taking them for granted. I notice that when I am thankful my perspective is different. I focus on the good rather than the bad. It’s like medicine bringing health to my heart and mind.

As I prepare for this coming week I am thankful for my family and though we are spread all over the country, we think of one another and past times around the table, like making stuffed dates with my children on Thanksgiving Eve. And, of plenty to eat even when illness dictated we stay home.
I am thankful for our country, that we can worship freely and, of the freedoms we share and hold dear. I appreciate my church family and the bond we have because we are followers of Christ. I am thankful for my son who serves in the military, and all our military personnel who daily pay the price for maintaining our freedoms. Many who will not be together on this holiday because they are separated by oceans and deserts, but whose hearts are connected by the miles and by cell phone and email. Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf and your willingness to serve.
And, most of all I am thankful for what God has done through Jesus Christ so that we can have forgiveness and new life in Him. He is the God of new beginnings; He makes us new creations—the old has gone, forgiven and made new. And, that sacrifice cost Him His life. I’m so thankful for that, because I don’t deserve it, but He did it anyway because of His love for me, and for all. May this week begin a habit of contemplating the good things that are ours and may our hearts be thankful and offer praise.
Wishing you a season of thanksgiving that will fill you with His joy!
What are you thankful for?


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Every Journey Begins with a Single Step

Have you ever felt frozen—not sure what to do next? I am living there this week. There’s plenty I could be doing if only I knew where to begin. Just recently back from my Communicator’s conference I have lots to process. I am working on a promotional packet that I will have ready to send out to prospective event planners. I will book a photo session, finish my “one sheet” with my ministry information and I need to edit my video so it’s ready to be included. The reason I am feeling frozen is that I want to get it right—yes, perfectionism is a taskmaster.

So, what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the options? First, PRAY. Easier said than done, I know. If you’re like me you want to just jump in and get-er-done. Even if that means skipping over the most important thing; what does God want portrayed in all of this? He already knows the details because Scripture says *He has prepared good works for me to do beforehand. He has made me and equipped me to accomplish things that will have kingdom impact but I need to be still and listen for His promptings. When I slow down and talk with Him and listen, the next step will become clear.
I have a plaque on my desk that says: Every Journey Begins With A Single Step
A single step is all He’s asking. Honestly it is probably the hardest one to take because it takes faith to overcome the fear and anxiety that wants to keep us cemented to the floor. Once you put your feet in motion the pathway will begin to open and you will sense the power of the Spirit leading you forward.
Isaiah 30:21: says, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” And, He promises to go with us—each step of the way.
So, when you’re faced with decisions or tasks that knock the wind out of you, remember that His promises are trustworthy. He has called, equipped, and readied you to take that first step of faith. Whittier said, “The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath” and that rock is Jesus Christ!
What’s your next step? I would love to hear about it and give praise to the One who reaches out His hand to steady your walk. 


*Ephesians 2:10