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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Up Front For Easter



    
McDonalds think they have it figured out.  
    
    
I pulled up to the drive-thru today. A cheery voice practically shouted at me with enthusiasm:  
    
    
“Welcome to McDonalds!” the metallic voice chirped. “Buy a fillet extra value meal and get a second fillet for a dollar!”   

      
The voice continued talking before I could reply:   “What can I make for you today?”    T he enthusiastic voice audibly clicked and went silent.  
      
A new, slightly weary voice came on the line.    
      
“What would you like?”  the beleaguered voice said.  The young man was trying to sound cheerful, but I could tell it had been a long, hectic shift.  

  
I gave my order and started thinking.  I often live my life like the recorded voice in the McDonalds drive-thru.   
    
    
On the outside, I may be perky and enthusiastic, but my insides are a little weary.  Life has been a long, hard shift and I’ve forgotten who to run to for peace.   
     
Enter: Jesus and the promise of Easter. 

Jesus is the essence of God's love come to earth for weary souls.  He knows our true identity and loves us long after the recording winds down.   
    
    
Sometimes I think we’re all broken people trying to pretend we're not broken.  We turn on the recording and sound perky. We mask our insecurity with laughter, loud talk or even quiet self-confidence.

Truth be told, when we face real life issues, like pain and sorrow and disappointment and death, we need  help to fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts.   
         
Enter: Jesus and the promise of Easter  
       
Some people try to fill this hole with temporary things: Money, jobs, relationships, kids, food, drink and, yup, even good works.  

Others try to fill the hole with militancy. They scream “Show me your approval" and  "Make me feel good about myself or I’ll sue you!” The problem is, they still feel empty and they don’t know why.   
    
Enter Jesus and the promise of Easter.     

Some people try to fill the hole in their hearts with a victim mentality. They fill up with self pity and stagnate, waiting for someone to give them what they think they deserve..    
      
Enter: Jesus and the promise of Easter.  

When we give Jesus our lives...He fills our holes.  He fixes the broken.  He gives self-worth to the insecure and victory to the victims.
     
It's as simple as choosing to believe in Jesus and the promise of Easter.
      
McDonalds may think they have it figured out --  provide a perky recording to mask the human frailty of its workers.
      
God had a better idea:  Provide a Savior to bring frail humans back into the presence of His empowering love.  
      
I think I'll let Jesus fill my hollow places.  No recordings necessary. It only takes a moment...a prayer...to let Him in. 
      

Sunday, March 22, 2015

John 17 - A Savior in a World of Challenge

Oh, friends, the time is just flying - taxes, finances, work, church, challenges!  I have missed looking at John!  Tonight I uncovered John 17 and want to write about it.


John 17


Read through John 17.  Jesus  is really prepping his followers for his departure.

John brings in Jesus’ words which certainly clarify His role on earth and our ability to be saved through HIM.

Check out the first verse and see how Jesus gives us salvation and eternal life:

 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  -- John 17:1-5

I looked up the word, “glorify” in my trusty dictionary. I love this definition:

Glorify: “to honor; extol; to give glory to, as in worship”

When I read on, I felt like Jesus was talking to God about me.  I know He is referring to His disciples and followers, but read the rest of the chapter as if He is talking to God about YOU.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, 
and to see my glory, the glory you have given me 
because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, 
I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  
I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known 
in order that the love you have for me may be in them 
and that I myself may be in them.” -- John 17: 24-26


The words of Jesus calm me and let me know -- Jesus is asking God to cover me when I am in the trenches of this world.

That’s a good thing to know.

God can only protect me if I am reflecting Him in the world.

Jesus is also saying HE will supply us with the love we need and also be IN us… when we invite Him.

I don’t know how people face the problems of this world without Jesus.

I’m so glad Jesus helps us -- He brings meaning to suffering and focus to confusion.  He equips us for this crazy world with His LOVE!

I LOVE Him and pray you do, too!

Have a wonderful week!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

John 16 - Falling into Jesus' Arms


I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”--John 16:33


Drat.  I had really hoped I would sail through this world without much trouble. 

When I was in my 20s, I thought I could outsmart trouble.  I lived my life boldly and bravely, skirting the edges of problems and thumbing my nose at consequences.

Then trouble hit me, full force, flat in the face.  I lamented my predicament. I figured God must not be aware of my struggles.  

Then I read John 16:33.  Just WHY did you have to guarantee trouble, God?

As I've walked this journey for 50+ years, I've begun to understand why. Now that I'm facing cancer, I cling to the reality of this verse. 

Without darkness we would not see light, without depth, no sparkling shallows, without pain, no healing solace, without struggle, no roots of faithful strength. 

In John 16:33 Jesus tells me HE is the only source of peace.  Key words to this verse are:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace."

Being "in" Christ is a lot different than my typical Sunday morning check in.  

I have given my life to Jesus.  I remain in Him and He in me as I struggle through my day.  When I run away from Jesus' presence, however, I get lost in trouble.

What I need to do is fall into the loving arms of Jesus.  There, nestled in the warmth of His love, I will discover the promise of John 16:33:


"But take heart! I have overcome the world."   

WOW! That is the best news of all!  All this stuff the world throws at me is no match for the Savior who loves me!

Jesus overcomes problems....as long as I REMAIN IN HIM!  

I should NOT run away from Jesus to my own anxiety, fears and earthly whining. 

Cancer is no match for Jesus.  

In the end,  I know....with Jesus... I can overcome the world.