Tag Archives: Jesus

Not Yet

I’ve been out of state and mostly out of touch for several weeks. I participated in a mission of mercy.

Upon my return an over-sized envelope, mailed to me by a close relative, stunned me. Two paragraphs detailed how the person does not “want to associate” with me anymore because, in that person’s opinion, me participating in that undertaking was “wrong”.

A long, long time ago I would have agreed.

Back then the person I had just paused my life to minister to had broken my heart, violated my family and then did everything possible to destroy me. For years afterward, staying close to my sons often took all I had.

 

But here’s the thing:

I didn’t mend my broken heart. I didn’t restore my demolished spirit. I didn’t drive away the demons or recover my life. Nor did my family.

Jesus saved me.

And then Jesus saved the same person who hurt my family and tried to ruin me.

What’s more, Jesus wants to save the person that now hates what I most recently did in His name.

“…And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on [Jesus]. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I understand. If I allow myself I can still feel all the pain. Again and again I prefer to feel how Love wins.

Despite being rejected by a loved one, given the chance to redo the past month, I would do it again.

Had I realized the relative was still bound in the past I would not have mentioned I was away or why.

Not yet.

 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Filed under A Door Ajar

Again. Mitch.

Outrageous! (Unless, you know, it’s true)
Originally posted on The Power of Story, April 11, 2019 by Mitch Teemley:

I don’t know who created the above meme, but I love its irreverent reverence. In fact I even LOL’d when I read it (something I rarely do in polite circles). I mean, I’ve been called a liar from time to time, and never once did it mean, “Dude, you’re totally deluded, but you’re still a great moral teacher.” It meant, Run! Always. So, yeah…

Jesus’ claims are truly outrageous (read what he says about himself in the Gospel of John). Unless they’re true. And then, well, OK, they’re still outrageous, but they’re also the most wonderful news we’ll ever hear. Because it means our Creator loves us so much that he chose to personally save us from the most out-of-control, destructive force ever to emerge on our planet–us.

No way? Yahweh. Totally outrageous. Here’s what C. S. Lewis concluded:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

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On Love

valentine-heart-5992x2227_22848

 

I believe in living by example; doing everything in such a way that what I believe is clear to all. Even when people misconstrue or they just don’t get it, God does.

I believe Jesus said it best:

“So now I am giving you a new commandment. Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 (NLT)

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Refocus

Happy 2019!

 

Photography by E.V.A. Lambert (c)2019 RapturePractice! Publications

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Shout It

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinithians 8:9 (NIV)

Concept: God

Photography: Unsplash

Design: (c)2018 E.V.A. Lambert for RapturePractice! Pub.

I do not own the All the Poor and Powerless All Sons & Daughters with Lyrics video music, images nor have any rights to profit from worshiping God.

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Second Stringers

To no one’s surprise, for this entire advent season, joy shot from Scriptures for me, but like never before. Okay, maybe I noticed them before, but this year they felt like a whole new ball game. Maybe it’s just me…

Rarely comfortable as a starter, I’m a strong second stringer.  So is it any surprise less popular verses struck me so strong?

Thanks to Handel some identify a line or two of these verses with Christmas (and Easter). Me too.

But this year the preceding and following lines sacked me daily as I read and read again.

I hope these snippets continue sparking everywhere all year around:

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress… The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. …”

Isaiah 9:1 & 2, 6 & 7 (NIV)

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

John 3:16, 17 (NIV)

Peace, people.

 

Featured Image courtesy TheWay.com

Header image courtesy Pixabay

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Humbly Humane

When summer began Hero, the 18-month-old steer was essentially wild.

One of his first encounters with man was to be roped and his testicles cut off. Back with his mother he likely forgot about his loss that day. He never seemed to forget about the evil ropes of doom and wanted no part of the upright beings at the ends of the ropes.

If he wasn’t already bigger than me I could still easily imagine how he felt, so I respected his space.

Before long he connected the rope creatures with food and water. During the next winter he would come running to the gate at feeding time.

Come spring his mother, “auntie” and “cousin” went away “to live on a farm” leaving him alone in the pasture. Afterwards he gradually became more open to humans.

After hanging around the vegetable garden fence all summer Hero became so comfortable with me he would gingerly nibble from my hand. I came to laugh at how he intimidated me the first time I power-walked the pastures. He pranced along with me, as if coaxing me to frolic with him.

Not long into summer the steer started begging for attention while I groomed the horses. The day Hero literally nosed my arm so I’d brush him too my internal red flags went up.

Hero is not a pet. Cole actually fussed at me for naming him (yeah, he didn’t read that post either). Unlike the horses who summer with us and then return to their people’s pastures for the winter, the steer will relocate to the freezer this year.

For two years I have recited the rule daily: never get attached to the livestock. Even so, something endears me to these bigger beings. I now feel sad when the lonely steer runs to the gate every time he sees me – too much like an 1800-pound puppy.

There were times in my life when I could relate to that steer. People hurt me, separated me from my loved ones and then left me alone and lonely. For a long time I too was very careful of upright beings.

Like the steer and most people I too learned that not all humans will hurt or harm us. Still we must watch for ropes – the things that can bind or hurt us.

Jesus knew about ropes – ignorance, fear, intimidation, greed and plain ol’ meanness. He knew about suffering for someone else’s sakes. With His life He demonstrated the best way to live is to forgive those who hurt us.

I want to use my life like that.

Oh, and thank You, God, that I’m not a steer.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven… For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37, 38 (NIV)

 

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Faceplant

Kyle Idleman’s book Not a Fan seriously tripped me up at first.

This kind of trip is good – challenging our attitudes. With multiple media pushing and pulling us in so many directions, regular neck up check ups are invaluable.

So on that particular morning what I expected to be an elegant swan dive into the book at the top of my stack became a shocking face plant instead.

“Here’s my point: many of us are quick to say, “Yes I’m a follower of Jesus,” but I’m not sure we really understand what we are saying.*” 

**

Thinking about it I suddenly wanted to explain myself to Jesus.

Maybe you navigate through life effortlessly. I don’t. And typically me getting out of sync with Jesus guarantees a sudden, cringeworthy stumble.

Immediately I realized that by racing to get caught up I had been forfeiting one-on-one time with God. Yet again. (Audible, heavy sigh.)

I suppose that makes me a fan.

I have been a Cubs fan as long as I can remember. Over the years as I moved around the country I half-halfheartedly followed other local teams. Still, I didn’t lose sight of my Cubbies.

So maybe I’m that kind of Jesus Fan.

But then again, Not A Fan later suggested I might be a marginal follower. As I read on my follower rating improved – some. And dropped again. And rose.

I don’t walk around with a Bible under my arm or interject Book, chapter and verse into every conversation. Okay, maybe sometimes, silently to myself. I use a Bible app most every day. But that’s not because I’m so religious (lost in church world or in Mosaic law). It’s because I LOVE people so very much I easily stray into their lives, lose sight of my own course and sometimes wind up offending someone.

Most important, while I maintain that connection with Jesus, I’m good. He sends the alerts I need. As I listen carefully He helps me hear myself, keeping me on track. He encourages me onward constantly, faithfully leading me right where He wants me – with or without my smart phone.

What’s more, He lets me think that I made good stuff happen! Good or bad, when we get together Jesus first shows me how He loves me. Then He shows me how much He loves me. He shows me what I blew up when I veered off course toward my understanding – and where He steered me right back.

And He shows me he’ll make it okay, I should try again.

Maybe without the faceplant.

Have you experienced what a wonderful God He is lately?

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

 

 

Music video courtesy YouTube

*Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

**image courtesy Productivetothemax.com

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New Vision

Farther back than I want to admit, I gradually began taking life on a need-to-see basis.

Remarkably, unlike my siblings who needed eyeglasses in grade school, I had exceptionally good vision well into my 30’s.

I remember one First Day of School in our newest neighborhood at the time. I wanted to look cool. I seriously was not, so I borrowed my sister’s new glasses from her. I can’t imagine what I was thinking, but after one morning looking through her glasses, imagining her worldview without them gave me a whole new understanding about Sister.

From then on I was proud of my amazing eyesight.

By twenty-five I had survived a parent’s suicide, became an abandoned spouse and a single, working mom. Blind, raging ambition driving me, I became a force to be reckoned with, and a Tiger Woman in the business world.

As a teen I’d turned my back on the God I’d heard about but didn’t see much of growing up in church. Decades later around the same time my eyes began changing, transformation also started in my stony, little heart.

As my vision began fading, the whole world seemed different.

After surviving a car collision that actually should have killed me, God had my full attention. I suddenly got over being angry at Him. Days later I longed to meet the Jesus I’d heard about years before.

Forget a nonchalant shrug, that day Atlas actually gasped. Sure, I didn’t suddenly decide to change. God had pursued me for years as He gently guided me along, but that’s a different story.

I began to realize all I had given up on as a child – thinking I’d imagined what I had once believed. I was thirty-something and already survived more anguish than most people can imagine.

Once I actually met Jesus I fell completely in love with Him. Weeks later I walked away from my high-paying, misery-generating job and law school. Hours afterward a heart attack pinned me to the floor, but I wasn’t afraid, worried or nearly done yet.

I was saved.

Everything in my life changed dramatically. Everything included needing glasses to read. And then for driving. Soon I needed trifocals.

Certain of God’s love for me and having good spiritual vision was genuinely life changing. I no longer needed to watch my back – for the first time since I was a kid, I knew God did. Like everyone, I continued to experienced more losses. Still, I stopped dreading what each new day might bring. And I no longer need my amazing eyesight to survive.

With God watching me closely, life on a need to see basis actually works for me.

How do you get through hard times?

“He (Father God, my Shepherd) renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23: 3, 4 (NLT)

 

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Wrapping

One of my first thoughts this morning was how quickly my old habit of wrapping Jesus around my stories recently developed.

Some three-plus decades ago, after reading and hearing about Jesus, I asked to meet Him for myself. Bam! Game changer. He was everything I’d been missing.

My thoughts, my understanding, my direction dramatically changed. I began wrapping my life, my thoughts, my being around Jesus.

As great as that is, I’m astounded and a little embarrassed to admit I often revert to many of my former ways. And yet, Jesus understands and waits for me to come back around to Him again.

“…But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” Romans 5:20 (NIV)

Though there have been some dark, lonely valleys along the way, the breathtaking peaks I’ve seen serve to inspire and encourage me onward. What amazes me the most is how often I think,

“It just doesn’t get better than this,”

as well as

“It can’t get worse than this”.

*

It can.

And it does.

But the worst usually sets up for the best.

Throughout my life the most influential people have often said, “just wait till you’re my age. You’ll see”. Now I AM that age! And I’m mostly amazed to see so much of my life, my thoughts, my being remains to wrap around Jesus.

Does your life seem to have unraveled? Whether you are on a peak, in a valley, or somewhere in between, wrapping your life around Jesus can take you farther and higher.

Wait till you’re my age. You’ll see!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Header Image and *image used by permission J.M. Weatherby (c) 2018

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