Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Sunday

This morning I am thankful for...

Anticipation! There is the anticipation of being days or even moments away from a special event, such as Christmas or holidays. When you know the good things that are about to happen, but you just have to wait until the right time arrives. And there is the anticipation of Jesus coming - remembering His first, and continuing to anticipate His second. I have been reading the prophets lately, and most likely will be able to finish the Old Testament of the Bible in the next two days before Christmas. Talk about anticipation! It is beautiful to read the prophecies about the coming Messiah, the humble King who will bring peace to all, in the days leading up to Christmas.

God's Sovereignty! No one is in control of the universe, of our world here on earth, or even of each of our lives except God. Sovereign means having supreme rank, power or authority. Being above all others. That is our good and beautiful God! Again, from the prophets, there is nothing that we can set up as a god in our lives that even has a chance of comparing to God. Anything else is just twigs and stones, self-built facades and illusions that help us feel in control. But God is truly sovereign. Thankfully He is also Love. He is also trustworthy and good.

Life! This is our first Christmas with our daughter and it is a delight to continue seeing her grow, to be thankful for the gift she is to us! We love to watch her develop and grow on a daily basis! It makes me feel more alive to see her little life begin. And I am thankful for God, the giver of life. He created each one of us, gave us physical life. He offers eternal life to all who surrender to Jesus. He gives the Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, as a reminder that even as our physical bodies age and break down, our spirits are alive and will be forever.Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Waiting and Groaning

This morning I was thinking again with sorrow of the 20 sets of parents as well as hundreds of family and friends that are experiencing such unbelievable grief this week. As I was, this passage of scripture came to mind. Romans 8:18-25 (NLT):

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will 
reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future 
day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, 
all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the 
creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in 
glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation 
has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within 
us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when 
God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the
 new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we 
were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope 
for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, 
we must wait patiently and confidently.)

As parents grieve such an unfathomable loss, the entire created world and all in it groans. As thousands each day face starvation and malnutrition, it groans. As evil continues trying to bring as much destruction as possible in this world, it groans. As countless people suffer at the hands of those with power and without compassion, it groans. As countless categories of people get the short end of the stick - the poor, the unborn, women, children, laborers, the homeless, widows, orphans, the hungry, the enslaved - this world, and all of us in it, groans for release from sin and suffering, for renewal and righteousness.  

And somehow, even though I too have shed a fair number of tears this week and felt sick to my stomach relating to the pain of these parents loss, I am thankful to be reminded that we are only in the middle of the story. We are waiting, groaning, hoping, anticipating and longing for that day when Jesus will make all things new. 

This is the question I am left considering this morning. How can I, who has the Spirit within me as a foretaste of future glory, be a source (or conduit?) of hope and restoration in this broken world? How can we?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Redefine: Struggle vs. Growth

I often use the word "struggle" to describe the various things I face each day that I find difficult. If I ate one (or five) too many cookies that day, I "struggled" with my eating habits. If I finally dragged myself out of bed after pushing the snooze button four times, I "struggled" with waking up early. If I did not get all the things on my to-do list accomplished, I "struggled" with housework, and therefore "struggled" with some negative self talk as well for the rest of that day. I probably struggle with something every day, and I have a few areas in my life that I would say I struggle with on an ongoing basis.