Standing In His Shadow

In the days leading up to Easter, I am thinking about Jesus. Thousands of years ago, at a time not so unlike the one we live in now, where people are busy, hurried and harried. Jesus changed everything….for all eternity. Yes, we celebrate Christmas, and it is wonderful in its own right…..when the God of the universe, God of all creation, came into this broken and sin cursed world, that was desperate in their need for Him. Oh, but Easter, Easter is a celebration of joy mixed with pain. We celebrate that Jesus did what only He could do….bridge the chasm that exists between us, and God the Father. Burdened under the dirt of our own sin, we are (were) unable to stand before a Holy and Righteous God. For those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, as our Savior…..we can be called children of God. When our Father now looks at us, He no longer sees the darkness of our sin, but the radiance of His Son’s glory. We stand in the shadow of our Lord, Jesus.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13 

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 1 John 3:1 

I went back through my blog archives and found this post that I had written a couple of years ago. Maybe you are like me and need to read it, and be reminded, again.

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Are You Still Living In Friday?

We call it “Good Friday”.

IMG_1197Good in the midst of the awful.

That Friday so many years ago….

the day that Jesus’ followers were heart broken.

They felt abandoned. Alone. Confused by all that had happened.

It was Friday……..

but, Sunday was coming!

Are You Living In Friday?

The most holy, pivotal celebration, to the life of a Christian….Easter.

On that Friday Jesus hung on a rugged, Roman cross

The Savior between two common thieves

He was mocked and insulted

The clouds darkened…

He asked His Father

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The day was full of anguish

and pain.

He cried out

“It is finished!”

The curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom.

The earth shook.

Then He died.

That day was…. Sad. Hopeless. Bleak.

Jesus’ followers did not understand. They were confused. They were grieving. They were hurting.

Wondering.

What did this mean?

What was the purpose?

Don’t so many of us live in “the Friday” of our lives?  Scared. Wondering. Confused.

How is God going to work things out in our lives?

We can’t see it.

We don’t get it.

We won’t live through it.

What is the purpose?

But Jesus did not stay in the grave.

He conquered death.

He rose again.

He appeared too many.

The glorious resurrection day changed everything.

EVERYTHING.

For all time.

FOR US

The followers had…..Hope. Joy. Peace.

Death had been conquered by the only ONE who was capable.

He took our place. He sacrificed. His blood was spilled.

And He came out of that tomb!

Jesus never left us in the darkness of the crucifixion.

Because He lives, we are brought into the

glorious resurrection morning!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25 NIV

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And Loves Me Still…

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It is so very easy, when life seems off kilter and nothing is going right, to believe that it will always be this way.  Our vision is dulled by our focus on the “if only”, “maybe”, or “why me”, moments.  It is easy to become overwhelmed with the day to day, if we do not make a concerted effort to see with eyes wide open, all the blessings . Sure, there are times of sadness, doubt and confusion…but, there are also times of faith, and hope and love. Even the darkest of times carries with it, its own beauty. Times of quiet and solitude in a noisy world that constantly vies for our attention, is a good thing. Although, I cannot honestly say I always appreciate it, sometimes it takes the darkness in order to truly appreciate the light. I, too, require that reminder.

When we concentrate on the rips and stains in the fabric of our life, we will always find it more difficult to see the beautiful patterns and the intricate details of the Master, as He weaves together our gorgeous tapestry. Today I choose to see the beauty.

Right now I am grateful for: 

*Tender green emerging from winter’s brown *Wind to dry up the mud *A successful grocery shopping trip * A full pantry *Playing with the dogs * Having time to write * Art journaling * Helping others * Friends * Knowing that my husband is with me, through the good, bad, and the ugly * healthy kids * Gray sky stark against the back fence line *New boots for Spring’s rain *A card in the mail * Opportunity * God who knows me, and loves me still… 

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28 NIV

Words Can Change Things

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Cards and notes from my grandmother, sent to me while away at college. Old love letters from a boyfriend, bringing back memories of first love. Letters and cards of encouragement from my mom, always making me feel better. A bible verse written in my late husband’s handwriting, reminding me of what is truly important. Those that speak words of encouragement, those that teach and preach, and whose words can stir the soul. Letters and sounds that have great meaning. Simple, yet uniquely powerful.

Words, whether spoken or written, have the ability to transform.

Words can change things. They are able to build up or break down. Or change a life forever.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have see His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth. John 1:14 

Desperate For A Savior

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I watched a movie last night on television. It was a cute movie and definitely had the “feel good” vibe going on but, felt…well… contrived… as if all of life’s problems always work out. That choices made, are for the best.  People work things out. There are no hurt feelings, and the characters see the error of their ways and everyone ends up happy.

If only life was as easy and as cut and dry as an hour and a half, movie. Unfortunately, for the majority of us (if we care to admit it) life is just the opposite. Complicated, curious, difficult and a little bit scary. For all the great stuff there is just as much that is worrisome. For some, life is downright hard and painful and the days are not tied up in a nice neat bow.

In this world, in a lot of people’s lives, the bills need paid and the money is tight. The diagnosis is given and those we love die. Poor choices are made and there are real, life altering consequences. Life can be a struggle.

Life now isn’t so very different than what it was thousands of years ago when God came to earth. He came into a world full of hurting people. People that needed Him. People that were desperate for a Savior…..not so unlike us, today.

Desperate for a Savior.

Desperate for One who has overcome this world.

 “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33 

Light Bearers

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The anchorman on the network delivered more sad news. The day to day can be depressing, listening to stories of bombings, and terrorist’s plots, political arguments, and car accidents. We live in a broken world, that spins crazy on its axis, leaving us dizzy with the pain of a world gone bad.

People need the light.

As Christ followers we are called to be a light, in a world full of deep shadows, where people are often desperate for something good. We need to be light bearers, pointing to the One who can split the darkness with His very presence.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.… Matthew 5:14-15 

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He’s Got This

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I have Sarah Young’s day calendar sitting on my kitchen counter.

Today, the very first words were TRUST ME ONE DAY AT A TIME. Sometimes I just know when God is speaking directly to me. Don’t dwell in your past. Don’t stress over your future. Walk with Me, one day at a time. One moment at a time.

Trust is not easy on most days, especially when the seas of life are choppy…and the waves of worry are crashing hard. When I take my eyes off Him, I start to drown. Sadly, my typical response is not to trust God. Not really. Oh, I say I do. I want to trust, but it just seems easier to think of ways that I can make things better. What I can do to change things. I stress myself. I make myself sick. I worry.

God calls me over and over again not to trust myself, but to trust Him, keeping my focus on Him, the One who has the power to calm any storm. When the waves of worry grow high, and I feel like I am surely going under…..He says, “TRUST ME”.

Isaiah 26:3-4 

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Strength When I Am Weak

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Are you, like me? Is life causing you to feel the strain?

Sometimes life throws things at all of us that leave us gasping for air. Worry can suffocate. The best laid plans can be left laying at our feet, cracked and broken. How does one edit plans, accept change, be reminded that sometimes the things we thought we wanted are not what we really need?

I was desperate to read these verses from Paul, this morning.

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 

Yes! Oh, yes. Thank you for the reminder. I can do this life, even through the rough times, the hard times, the uncertain and unsure times……because on days when I have no strength of my own, He gives me the strength. Amen.