For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Inheritance of his People

Colossians 1:9-12
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

My friend, Joi, published a fictional account of her grandparents lives intertwined with the story of a young couple facing the struggles of life. In the story, she included the actual letters her grandpa wrote to his young wife during WW II. She explained to me that those precious letters are her inheritance from them. By reading and archiving the letters, she received a blessing that is priceless.

Often when I hear about an inheritance, the circumstances involve money or property. Things that are valuable on earth. But, as a follower of Christ, I have a greater prize waiting for me. The apostle Paul prayed for the church in Colossia and encouraged them to understand why God sent Jesus. He wanted them to know that he lived, died and rose from the grave, so that they could be part of his kingdom. I share this prayer of Paul and ask “God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…”

What do you think of when you hear the word inheritance?

Happy in the Service of the King

Psalm 148:13-14
Let them praise the name of the
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn,    the praise of all his faithful servants,
    of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord.
Growing up, I sang the song Happy in the Service of the King. The congregation gave this particular hymn a little extra umph because the song lyrics echoed being oh so happy to serve Jesus. I never really understood the message until I started working a forty hour week for a public institution. For years, I thought service meant ministry and that was accomplished within the church. Well, that’s true, but serving God means that my life reflects him no matter where I am. When struggles arise at my job or I am experiencing a productive, positive day, I need to work with a servant’s heart.
At work and at home, I should resemble Jesus. He didn’t necessarily want to die on the cross. He even prayed and asked God to take the cup away from him. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39. But, with a humbleness I may never totally understand, Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Now that’s a servant’s heart. He moved himself aside and sacrificed for me. No matter whether my day shines and I ease through, or stress and pressure make my day crazy, I need to remember that I am in the service of the King, and I want to show a servant’s heart.

Friday, February 8, 2013

And He Loved Her

Genesis 24:67
 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. (NIV)

My husband and I met, fell in love and married over the course of three months. My aunt, determined to set us up, made sure we were in the same place at the same time. I’m pretty sure that God knew we needed each other, and he nudged my aunt into action. After twenty years of marriage and all the ups and downs, our romance still grows through faith, prayer, and time together. Like life, love has been a journey.

One of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible belongs to Rebekah and Isaac. Abraham asked his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. Being a wise servant, he followed the directions of his master and gave the request to God. Before he even finished his prayer, Rebekah came to the well and watered the camels. Just like that, God led this humble man to the future wife of his master’s son. Obviously Isaac was pleased because Genesis says that he loved her and married her and that she comforted him. Through prayer God blessed Isaac with the perfect mate. Like any married couple, they faced struggles, difficult decisions, and sickness in the midst of love and joy. Because their love reflected their life of faith, they knew that they could trust God to take care of them.  

Every relationship benefits from acknowledging God’s presence. Husband and wife, parent and child, even friendships are better when faith and love take center stage.

When has God shown you love in an incredible way?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Snow Flew

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

As a child I bundled up in my coat, scarf, hat, boots and mittens and joined the neighbor kids and my brothers on the snowy hills around our home.  We jumped on wooden sleds and glided down the hill as all the cares of the world drifted away in the wind.  The snow sparkled and the trees flew by, and all of my cares disappeared.  Much like the exhilaration that folks experience when they sky dive or ski, that freedom pumped me up and gave me energy and excitement.  But, it was fleeting, lasting only until I trudged back up the hill.

The freedom I find in believing and following Christ lasts forever.  Through the Holy Spirit, this freedom allows me to stay calm amid chaos and stress.  God offers his followers free will. I make decisions with prayer. With Christ I know I am not bound to the ways of the world. The beautiful part is that when I leave this world, I have an eternal home in heaven.  "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!"

How do you experience the freedom of Christ?