Clothed in human form

Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors. ~Luke 2:8-14 (CEB)

“New discoveries about our universe seem to emerge every day. Telescopes in space enable us to see into the created order farther and more clearly than ever before. But even with all of this marvelous technology we have not been able to chart the boundaries of creation. And even if we could, the idea of a created order many billions of light years in depth is too much for us to comprehend. So how can we comprehend the One whom we call the Creator? Clearly, an infinite God has a communication problem with finite humankind. Christians find the answer to that problem in Jesus Christ. The mystery of this magnificent universe finds resolution in the mystery of the birth in Bethlehem. Jesus Christ came and was clothed in human flesh to let us know who God is and what God is really like. In Jesus Christ we see that God is approachable, and to a degree knowable by creatures like us. God can understand our condition because God has made us. We can know God because God has been revealed in Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:15 and 16 say it so well. ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and things invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers- all things have been created through him and for him.’ In Jesus we have the perfect reflection of God. While the Creator of this vast universe may seem distant and unknowable, we can see, understand, and know Jesus of Nazareth. While it may seem too much to ask the Maker of the complex creation to hear us as we pray, we remember Jesus listened to everyone. So we, you and I, can communicate with the One who is author of all.

Our earthly existence takes on new meaning when we remember that God chose to put on our humanity and chose to wear that humanity as an ordinary working man. Our ordinary existence is not so ordinary when we remember that God chose this existence to give us a true picture of the divine. Therefore there are no unimportant moments in any lifetime. All are precious gifts of opportunity to know and serve the One who made us and chose to stand with us and like us in the great life.” ~From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

It is humbling to think that the Creator of the universe loves me so much that He stripped Himself of Heaven to enter this world as nothing but a naked vulnerable infant. He clothed Himself as a human just so that I could get a better understanding of how wide, how deep, how high and how far His love is for me.

Merry Christmas!

Heavenly Father, Thank You for coming down to earth in Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving me so much. Amen.

 

Lest I forget

Take care that you do not forget the LORD your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.~Deut 8:11-18 (CEB)

It is so much easier to call out to God when life is rocky, much easier to remember that He is my source of strength when I am feeling so weak. But when my path is clear I forget who fought those battles for me so that I can live in grace. I forget who provides the food for my table, the warmth for my house, a place to put my head or the clothes that I wear. I forget who has given me that security I am now feeling.

When I forget who has provided that calm my eyes look away. I begin to think that it was by my mighty strength and my glorious abilities that got me where I am. But my strength and abilities only last so long and if I don’t look quickly back to their source I lose all power from within.

Lord, help me to take care to not forget the source of the very air I breathe when I come into Your promises. It is by Your strength and power that I am who I am, Your beloved child of God. May I never forget. Amen.

Little by little

If you say to yourself, “These nations are more numerous than I; how can I dispossess them?” do not be afraid of them. Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the LORD your God will send the pestilence against them, until even the survivors and the fugitives are destroyed. Have no dread of them, for the LORD your God, who is present with you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to make a quick end of them, otherwise the wild animals would become too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will give them over to you, and throw them into great panic, until they are destroyed. ~Duet 7:17-23

Sometimes it feels that God is not answering our prayers. Or it feels like the situation is more than we can do. I like these verses from Deuteronomy because it reminds me that even though my trials may seem great I just need to remember the signs and wonders God has already done in my life. Just as he has been there for me in the past, He continues to be working for my good. (Jer. 29:11) Little by little God is already making changes, even if I can’t see them. The timing is slow so that when I come into the promises He has made me I will be ready to stand up under this new life and not crumble.

God is doing the hard work. He is clearing a way before me. I only need to be ready to step into that promise land once He has my path cleared.

Heavenly Father, there are some days that it is hard to remember Your promises. I take my eyes off you, see my present circumstances and soon am overwhelmed again. Today I recall to mind the signs and wonders that You have already done in my life. Today I will hold my head up high and watch You do the work. Amen.

Looking for the face of God

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best– as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6:9-15 (Message)

Some final tough words on forgiveness for my heart when it feels that it has just has the right to hold on to that wrong for a little while longer because you know, “I have a right to be mad!”

“It may be infinitely less evil to murder a man then to refuse to forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion: the latter is the heart’s choice. It is spiritual murder, the worst, to hate, to brood over the feeling that excluded, that kills the image, the idea of the hatred.” ~From Creation in Christ by George McDonaold

When I want to hold on to my “rightful hurt feelings”, it is sobering to remember that I do so much more harm to myself for holding on to hurts no matter how justified it might seem. Harboring such hurt makes it hard to find God’s face and therefore I feel even more alone. This anger though justified just isn’t worth my isolation from God. I want to feel His mercies toward me so I must extend mercy to others. And so I move on.

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to be separated from you any longer. Help me to wade through this junk and move on. It is time. Amen.

Looking for a new dawn

Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. Colossians 3:12

Sometimes mercy is much easier to extend than forgiveness. When we refuse to let go the hurts we have received they begins to hold us captive. Our thinking becomes consumed with thoughts of the injury. We now are really victims not from the hurts we received but because unforgiveness has become our jailer. We are imprisoned by the hatred and malice we clutch in our hearts.

Forgiveness is not easy or even a swift process. When wrongs have been committed the last thing one wants, or even should do is claim that the transgression should be overlooked. It is so tempting to want to pretend that the hurt never even happened but the unavoidable feelings of betrayal, rage, hate, self-blame, flight, and fight bubble up from within. Until attention is given to the source of the pain healing cannot begin. The injury must be named and acknowledged that it happened to you, the pain must be allowed to work for you, the wrong must be named so that power and strength can return.

When pain has been acknowledged, claimed and overcome forgiveness can then come as a free act. When forgives comes we can look again with new eyes and a fresh heart. It’s not that we aren’t now wiser or that we haven’t learned from our experience but a new day dawns and hope returns.

Give me a new heart this day Lord, open my eyes to a new dawn. Part the clouds of my heart and let the sun shine in. Amen.

Freedom

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ~Romans 6:2

When I say I long for freedom, freedom from what? Freedom from the illusion of control, that if I can just make sure things line-up “just so” nothing bad is going to happen. Freedom from the need to be right all the time, that sometimes I simple just don’t know the answers.  Freedom from the fears of serious things, like being lost, getting sick, the death of a loved one.  Freedom from irrational things like an organized house will bring peace and the feeling of order or that making everyone else happy can by some miracle make me happy.

When I say that “I can’t”, when I see that “God can”, when I take the action of letting Him handle all things, then I can experience freedom. Freedom from the try-hard life where I stay strong, put on a good front and think that I can handle all things my-self. When I trust, allowing my “self” to fall to the ground like a seed, that shell of my self-life can burst allowing the Healers life to burst forth.

New life brings freedom. God’s life allows me to experience a freedom I can never find on my own. I just have to allow myself to be buried with Jesus so that I may also be raised into a new life free of trying hard (and missing the mark).

Heavenly Father, I find myself trying so hard. I want to control everything and know all the answers. Please free my from my “self” so that I may have true life through You. Amen.

Forgiveness

Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. ~Mark 1:35 (CEB)

It is that time of year again when I begin to live out that which I have planned out. There is something comforting in the laying out of information and the putting plans on a calendar for me to follow. There is nothing like having “life” laid out on paper (or computer) and knowing where you will be and what you will be doing when. At the same time it is very daunting as well. Sometimes after getting into the new schedule I find there is little or no margin. I have learned just because it works out on paper doesn’t mean that it will work out in real life.

So as I look at lesson plans, art projects, Bible studies, music lessons and gymnastics, I am reminded that I must allow some breathing room in my schedule for the “what-ifs”.  I am reminded that a schedule that I am able to begin with is not necessarily the same one that I can keep up with. I need room to breathe. I need margin in my schedule before I begin to feel that there is not enough of me to go around. As I plan out how I am going to take care of those around me, I need to also remember to give myself some space.

Jesus realized that he needed times to have space to breathe. He regularly took time to slip away for time with God. No matter the needs of the people there was still his need for quiet to spend time with his Father.

When I don’t plan some margin in my schedule so that I can find places of rest and times to connect with God I find that I can’t keep up with things. Then I find that it is tempting to cut rest and quiet to make up for my lack of time to get other things done. How crazy is that? The most needed things, rest, quiet, time with God are the things that slowly get left out when we scramble to keep up with our life.

Heavenly Father, in my planning help me to stick to the need for margins that will allow me the time I need for quiet, rest and most importantly, time with You. Amen.

Previous Older Entries