Friday, December 19, 2008

John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

I wrote this one last night when I didn't have my Bible with me and I wasn't near my laptop. I remembered the verse differently ~ thinking it ended in "brother" instead of "friend," but there's a message here that goes deeper than the "treat your friends well and be willing to sacrifice for them." It's a message of how deep and wide and amazing our Savior's love is for us. So, based on the above verse, here is the (little bit longer than usual) entry for today:

This verse brings to mind soldiers, best friends (BFF's) and comrades in arms, but today I'm looking at it differently. God, as part of the Trinity, is The Father. Jesus, as part of the Trinity, is Son. When we accept the Son we become "joint heirs" of the Father's riches. (God) This means, then, that Jesus is our brother...and, in realizing He laid down His life for us as the ultimate sacrifice, we can then know we will never find a greater love than this! Isn't that amazing?

Sit with that.

Let it sink in.

You were died for.

Jesus laid down His life for YOU...His brother/sister! there will never be a greater love than that.

And, as they say on TV, "but wait! there's more!" Not only did He lay down His life for You, (insert your name here), and not only will you not find any greater also can't make Him love you any more (as in quantity, not cessation). His love for you is like a credit card in the hands of a shopaholic ~ Maxed Out. He loves you with a love that does not end, sees the real you and says, "Wow. I love you SO much" and wants you to be all He created you to be without shame, guilt, fear or chains.

Can't wrap your mind around it? Neither can I, to be honest, but I also can't wrap my mind around how a deaf man could write some of the most brilliant piano masterpieces this world has ever heard. That doesn't stop me from popping in a Beethoven CD and getting lost in the brilliance. You'll never understand. God makes that clear when He says, "your ways are not My ways, your thoughts are not My thoughts."

Don't let it stop you from believing it and living it out. If you do, it will be your only true regret.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

There are days it is very difficult to read Proverbs 31. We read about a woman who seems to be able to bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan...and it's from the pig she bought, raised and butchered all on her own, too! However, this verse pretty much sums up the one true quality of what is praiseworthy in her. It isn't her ability to see a crop and buy it. It's not her ability to put together amazing menus and chore lists for her family. It's not even her beauty or ability to make her husband proud with how well she interacts with his colleagues. It is, instead, her fear of the Lord. It is her understanding that she does not work as unto her husband. It is her foundational belief that she was made by, loved by, and enjoyed by the very Creator of the Universe. It is the knowledge that she serves an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-sufficient God...and HE is in charge of her life. It is, as stated above, her fear of the Lord that brings her praise.

What will people praise you for?

More importantly, what will God praise you for?

Matthew 25:23

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:23

Have you ever seen a child who knows that if they care for their chores and do them well that they will then have the opportunity to attend a movie or a special event with their parent? They want that time, so they put all they have into it to make sure it's done well...knowing that they will be rewarded in their parent's level of trust as well as time celebrating with that parent. Knowing they have completed a task gives them the confidence to do it well next time...and next time...and eventually they'll be doing more because the parent knows they can handle the responsibility. As a parent, I can say there is a level of excitement in me when I see my children putting forth effort to be the best they can be at something. I don't love them less if they don't, but I do know I can give them more responsibility...I can trust them with more opportunities for growth...I can honor them and bless them with rewards they couldn't know before.

That's how it is with God's love and with our responsibilities in life. He gives us a bit...sees how we us some more (or not, depending on our faithfulness)...and, the Bible says that we'll have mansions waiting for us in Heaven where we will celebrate with and worship our Lord for eternity! Today think about how you're living your life...are you living it in such a way that if you were to die today you would stand before God and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things, I gave you more and you continued to be faithful...come in and share your Master's happiness!"??

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Romans 8:6

"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace..." Romans 8:6

How many times do you catch yourself thinking of your Christmas shopping list? Are you mentally counting tablecloths, cups and dessert forks as you wander the aisles putting together the Christmas dinner? Maybe you're wondering how, in the middle of an increased work load, you're supposed to get it all done AND have time to reflect on the true reason for this season. In light of this verse perspective comes clearly: reflect on the things of this world and you are coasting toward a separation between you and the very Savior you're preparing to celebrate. (in the Bible, when speaking of "death" in these terms it means a separation between you and God, which is quite literally eternal death) Without taking the time to get away with God ~ mind and body ~ and surrender the weight of responsibilities (not the're responsible for those!), the fear of expectations not being met, and all the other distractions that come with this time of year you are missing out on the peace so many stores, cards and banners pronounce all around us.

What a beautiful testimony that would be! A glimpse into one reason we love our Lord so much! Walk through a crowded mall with a look of absolute peace...and mean it. May God bless you and keep you as you keep your mind surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit. (don't forget to respond!)