Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What if?

What if you found out that you were the heir to a great inheritance and  all you had to do was travel to the benefactor's estate to claim your inheritance?  You would be so excited!  You would dream about the future.  You would live in joyful anticipation for what was ahead.  You would tell all your friends about your good fortune.

BUT what if your car broke down on the way there and you had to ride the bus?  Or walk? 
What if the road was long?  Or bumpy?  Or hot? 
What if your feet hurt? 

Would you cry over your broken car? 
Would you sit down and refuse to go any farther because it was too painful?
Would you give up and say "Forget it. It's too hard to get there.  It takes too long."
I don't think so.
If you knew what was waiting for you, you would do whatever it took to get there. 
You would think about what was ahead of you and not what you had to leave behind.
You would press on.
You would not quit.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-7)
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To Him Who Overcomes

What are you hoping to find underneath the tree this Christmas?  Much more exciting that the gifts you will receive next week, is what the Bible says is in store for those who overcome.  So don't get discouraged by your circumstances today. And don't place your hope in the things of this world.
"I hope I get an ipad for Christmas."
"I hope I get married."
"I hope I have kids."
"I hope I get better."
"I hope I get that job."
"I hope I'll be rich."
"I hope I can go to Disneyworld."
All of those hopes are fleeting and fading.  Timothy Jones says that "We cannot live rightly until we aim past life.  Eternity provides the only goal that makes ultimate sense of our lives."
So make it your goal to overcome.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)
He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (v.11)
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (v.17)
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations... I will also give him  the morning star. (v.26,28)
He who overcomes dressed in white.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (3:5)
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God...and I will also write on him my new name. (v.12)
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (v.21)
I may or may not get what I want for Christmas.  I may or may not get what I want in this lifetime.

But someday....
I will eat from the tree of life.
I will not hurt again.
I  will eat the bread of angels.
I will have a new name chosen by my creator.
I will have authority over the nations.
I will have the morning star.
I will be dressed in white.
I will be acknowledged before God and angels.
I will be a pillar in the temple of God and serve in his presence.

WOW!  I don't understand all of that.  It is beyond what I can imagine.   But I do know that I have something greater in store for me than the new winter coat and the Ginger Peach tea that I asked for.
And you have something greater in store for you too.
Keep going!
Don't quit!
Press on!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Early Anniversary

17 years ago...
Because we will be traveling on our anniversary, we decided to celebrate last weekend with dinner and a Christmas jazz concert.  Will's football coach had given me a $50 gift card to an Italian restaurant and I was saving it for a special occasion.  We had never been to this particular restaurant before, but I had visions of a romantic Italian feast.  When we got there, we found out it was a take out pizza place.   The only tables were outside and it was snowing.  We laughed and drove down the street to another Italian restaurant.  This one had tables indoors!  We will definitely use the gift card for our next family pizza night.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lost Trust?

On February 21, 2005  I wrote this verse in my journal.

Jesus said, 'Don't be afraid.  Just trust me.' (Mark 5:36)
 When I read those words, I could picture myself in Jairus' place, panicking because my daughter was dying.  When Jesus spoke to him, I'm sure he was looking Jairus right in the eye, and perhaps even holding his face in his hands.

 "Trust me." 

Three days later when we received the news that Anna had cancer I went back in my journal to see how God had prepared me for what was ahead.  Before I ever knew that my daughter's life was in danger, God had told me, "Don't be afraid.  Just trust me."  He had given me the words I needed to get through those early days.  They became my mantra,

"Don't be afraid.  Just trust me.  Don't be afraid.  Just trust me."  
While we were still in the hospital, I was telling our pastor and his wife about God giving me that verse before I knew I needed it.  The next day Liz brought me a ring.  It was a thin silver band with the word "Trust" engraved on it.  I put it on and never took it off.  I remember one night in the hospital I was laying in bed in the dark--afraid and crying.  I put my hands over my face and I felt something hard.  It was my new ring.

"Don't be afraid.  Just trust me." 
 I wish God had said, "Don't be afraid.  Just trust me and she will be okay."  He didn't.  He just said, "Trust me."
I don't have to like what has happened.  I just have to trust.
I don't have to be happy.  I just have to trust.
I don't have to know the answers to my questions.  I just have to trust.
I've worn that ring every day since February 2005.  It's been a constant reminder of how I am to respond in each and every circumstance.  
I never took it off, but today it's gone.  I was making meatballs this weekend so I'm guessing it fell off then.  When I told Richard what had happened, he wanted to chop up all the meatballs.  I said, "You are not chopping up all of these meatballs.  We'll just tell the kids to be careful when they bite down."  We didn't find the ring in the meatballs (although there are still a few more to go.)
The ring was special to me.  I would have never taken it off, but it's okay that it's gone.  Those words are written on my heart and I don't need the ring to remember to trust.