Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 17, 2015

Somewhere Safe

Somewhere Safe

 

Presently, I’m reading a book by one of my favorite fiction writers, Jan Karon. The book is the latest in her Mitford Series and is entitled “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.” While I’ll refrain from explaining what this title refers to since someone else out there may also be reading this book, the title did get me to thinking. Where is my somewhere safe place?

 

Merriam-Webster defines the adjective safe as “not able or likely to be hurt or harmed in any way, not in danger.” One evening spent listening to the nightly news doesn’t give us much hope of finding a safe place, does it? Our safety is threatened on our highways, airways, and railways. Accounts of home invasions, robberies, and physical assaults increase our worries of personal attacks and dangers. And as acts of terrorism run rampant worldwide, we can’t help but wonder about our safety. Is there really a place where we can feel totally, completely safe?

 

There are lots of verses in the Bible about safety. One of my favorites is Psalm 4:8: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” One thing that generally eludes a worried, anxious person is sleep. Yet, David, who certainly experienced his share of worries and troubles was able to “lie down in peace, and sleep.” But even more, David declared: “For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” When we dwell somewhere, that’s where we live or stay. We’re not here today and gone tomorrow. It’s where we settle down and abide. In this tiny verse, David acknowledges his safe place – the Lord Himself. No matter what troubles assail David, he is content that he is in the loving Presence of his Lord.

 

I’ve heard it said that the safest place to be is in the will of God. Yet, sometimes those fully accepting of God’s purpose and plan for their lives discover pain, heartache, and suffering. The trials and tribulations we face here on earth are not limited to those who turn from or defy God. We are all subject to the sin and suffering of this fallen world, but as long as God tarries His coming and offers us His grace, mercy, and forgiveness, we all have the same invitation to find our place of safety in Him.

 

When we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we surrender all that we are to Him. Our lives are in His hands – whatever trials or tribulations, whatever happiness or joy – we abide in Him, our safe place. It reminds me of the old hymn “Near to the Heart of God” written by Cleland B. McAfee.

 There is a place of quiet rest,

near to the heart of God;

a place where sin cannot molest,

near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,

sent from the heart of God,

hold us who wait before thee

near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,

near to the heart of God;

a place where we our Savior meet,

near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release,

near to the heart of God;

a place where all is joy and peace,

near to the heart of God.

Yes, we live in a fallen, sinful, and troubled world, but there is One who offers refuge, comfort, joy, and peace even in the midst of the myriad difficulties we face. The troubles we endure here cannot touch or destroy the promise and victory that we have in Christ Jesus. He shelters us with His Presence, walks with us through our battles, and covers us with His mercy and grace – we dwell safely in Him. I can never thank my Lord enough for drawing me to Him, walking with me day by day, and helping me to know that in Him I am somewhere safe.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38-39)

 

 

Note: If you do not know Christ, you can find safety in Him. Please read “How to Be Saved” –  https://glorifyinghim.wordpress.com/how-can-i-be-saved/

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 9, 2015

A New Word for the New Year

A New Word for the New Year

 

Recently a read a blog post by my friend Scott Wiley. You can read his post here … http://recklessobedience.blogspot.com/20…/…/a-new-thing.html . In this post, Scott shares that he chooses one word at the beginning of each year to be his focus for the new year. As I read his post, I was first challenged by his choice of the word “Yes” and his desire to always be ready to say yes to God even if he doesn’t always know the way God is leading. Then I was challenged to think what word that God might be impressing on me.

 

It didn’t really take me long. My word for 2015 is the word “encourage.” I want to be an encourager. I’ve always wanted to be an encourager, but to be honest it’s not something that I always do well. I don’t always know the right words to say or the right things to do.  So, more often than not, I just don’t say or do anything. Oh, I may pray – but if I don’t let that person know I’m praying, I’m losing an opportunity to come along side of them and encourage them. At the same time, however, I know how much it means to me personally to receive encouragement.

 

When I began this blog in 2009, I hoped to help and encourage others who like me are trying to learn to be more like Christ and glorify Him in all that we do. Sometimes I struggle and stumble in my walk and it helps to know that I’m not alone. At other times, my joy is so palpable that I just have to share it so we can rejoice together. But through this experience, I’ve learned that I have been the one who has been encouraged. No, I don’t have loads of followers, but practically every month a few more join the list. No, I don’t get a lot of likes and comments, but there are those who consistently read and sometimes even share my blog with others. And then there are those who take the time to send me a private email or message to tell me how much a particular blog meant to them. You’ll never know how much those messages have encouraged me!

 

The writer of Hebrews states: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). I am so thankful for others that God has placed in my life who consistently lift me up and encourage me. This year, I pray that I will be an encouragement to you as well. It may be something I write, something that God has helped me to learn; it may be something I say or do for you as God guides me and helps me; and it may be something we do together as we encourage one another and reveal the love of Christ to others – to some who do not yet know Him. What a privilege to “stir up love and good works” and to encourage one another!

 

“But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.”

(Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 31, 2014

Looking Forward from Christmas

Looking Forward from Christmas

 

The presents are now all unwrapped, but the lights still shine brightly on the tree. Much of the food is now gone, but part of a red velvet cake still remains. Some family members have left to return to work and daily routines, while others of us try our best to hold on to what’s left of Christmas – not quite ready to clean up, pack up, and put away for another year.

 

As I thought about another Christmas winding down, my eyes fell on what remains of the red velvet cake. So many of my Christmas memories revolve around a simple red velvet cake. I remember as a child when I first saw a red velvet cake, I was totally mesmerized. Cakes were supposed to be white or yellow or chocolate. I thought that those red cake layers were absolutely beautiful! I never tried to make one until after I was married and one of the first Christmas cakes I made was a red velvet cake. Thus began a long tradition of holiday red velvet cakes.

 

Just about every year at Christmas time I made a red velvet cake for my husband’s family’s Christmas dinner. It became a favorite cake of my son – or actually, I think he preferred licking the red-batter bowl to eating the cake. When my husband’s family no longer met for Christmas dinner, I continued baking a red velvet cake for our Christmas gathering with my sister and her family. The recipe has been changed and tweaked through the years and some years it turned out better than others, but it grew to be a given on my Christmas baking list.

 

That’s Christmas! There is so much looking back, recalling, and remembering. By my age, it seems that every dish I prepare, every ornament on the tree, and every decoration on a table or shelf has a special memory, a sweet story to tell. But even more than looking back at all these Christmas memories, I love taking time in all the rush and hurry of the Christmas season to think about that very first Christmas. I love hearing about Mary and Joseph; the angels and the shepherds; and Baby Jesus, the Son of God, lying in the manger. These are stories that I never tire of hearing and reflecting on a love that is beyond my ability to fully comprehend.

 

But as much as I love looking back, recalling, and remembering at Christmas time, I think Christmas demands that we look forward. Luke tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (see Luke 2:19). I’m sure that Mary treasured every detail of her Son’s birth. She probably hung onto every word that the shepherds relayed about the angels and their glorious announcement. She “marveled” over the comments of Simeon and Anna (see Luke 2:25-38). She surely treasured every memory, but she pondered them as well.

 

I’m sure that Mary wondered what everything she heard meant. What would Jesus’ life look like? What would her life as His mother look like? How should the mother of the Son of God “mother” the Son of God?  Did she understand the sword that Simeon prophesied that would pierce her own soul? I wonder how Mary moved forward from Christmas?

She probably moved forward much like you and me. As we look forward to a new year, we know that it’s not really new. We don’t leave our problems, our worries, our questions or doubts in the old year. We pack them up and bring them along with us. Nothing really changes except for the date on the calendar and perhaps a new resolve that we’re going to get it right this year. But while we all move forward – since there really isn’t another option – we may not all look forward from Christmas. And that is what makes all the difference!

 

When we look forward from Christmas, we pretty much do the three following things.

 

  • We remember Jesus and what He came to do. He is our Savior and our Immanuel. He came to save us and to walk with us through everything we face.

 

  • We rejoice that because of Jesus, we can truly live. He has a plan for your life and mine and He gives us meaning and purpose. We are part of His story.

 

  • We rest in God’s promises. Jesus’ birth, life, and resurrection assure me that I can trust in all that God has promised. Therefore, I can look forward with both peace and hope in my heart.

 

Remember, rejoice, and rest – these three things will help us look forward from Christmas, knowing that because of Jesus we are never alone, our lives have meaning and purpose, and we have a hope that can never be extinguished – all because of Jesus!

 

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

 (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 19, 2014

My Christmas Wish

My Christmas Wish

 

I’m ready for Christmas.

 

My home is ready. My gifts are wrapped and under the tree. My shopping is done for my cooking and baking. And this morning, I finished cleaning my house. I vacuumed over, under, around, and even got to some of those spots that I regularly skip over. My home is ready for Christmas.

 

My heart is ready for Christmas. This year as I’ve thought about the birth of Jesus, my Savior, God has laid upon my heart that, yes, Jesus came to save me, but He came to do even more. He came to be with me, to walk with me, to help me, to share my deepest sorrows and my greatest joys. David’s declaration of faith in Psalm 27 has come to have a whole new meaning to me. I love the Holman translation of verse 1.

 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?”

Jesus is my light, my salvation, and the stronghold of my life. Believers today have God constantly with them through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples before He left them: Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). We can constantly be in Jesus’ Presence because of the gift of the Holy Spirit. My heart is ready for Christmas!

 

Yes, my home and heart are ready, but I still have a Christmas wish. This Christmas wish is centered on someone dear to me, but I know there are many others that you probably know, too, who have desperate needs this Christmas. My Christmas wish is for a miracle in the life of my sister-in-law.

 

Less than a month ago, she was enjoying a Thanksgiving trip to the beach. A week later she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Before the pain that attacked her after she returned home, there had been no symptoms – nothing to signal that anything was wrong. She had received regular physicals and followed all her doctor’s orders for routine tests and exams. Needless to say, in one day, the world of my sister-in-law and her family was turned upside down.

 

While doctors are still trying to determine the best way to try to attack this cancer, I try to think of what to say. I hug her. I tell her I’m praying for her. I offer to do anything she needs me to do. She smiles. She cries. I don’t think she knows what to say either. We’ve shared family Christmases, holidays, and reunions. We’ve laughed together over our husbands’ selective hearing. We’ve raised kids together. We’ve taught Sunday School together. I’ve seen her tender heart as she teared up over children at the school where she worked who didn’t have enough food. She’s scolded me for not yet having a colonoscopy. I’ve seen her walk through Alzheimer’s with her own mother. In short, we’ve done a lot of life together. And, now, I don’t know what to say.

 

Thankfully, I know that my sister-in-law knows Jesus. I know that she doesn’t have to face this battle with only the limited help all of those who love her can give. Just as I cling to Psalm 27 for me, I cling to it for her as well. Stronghold can be defined as a protected place. That is what we have in Jesus. Whatever battle we face, we know that we are in that protected place where He will shelter us and care for us. Sometimes, He will deliver us through a miracle or His gracious intervention. At other times, He doesn’t remove the struggle, but He walks with us and helps us to endure. He will never, ever leave or forsake us.

 

Yes, my home is ready – although I know that there will be dust on the tabletops, paw prints on the floor, and dog hair on the furniture even before my first Christmas guest arrives. My heart is ready – although I don’t always understand the battles we face, I rejoice in knowing that Jesus is with me, that He is my Stronghold to whom I can forever cling. And I take my Christmas wish and humbly spread it out before my Lord. I pray for my sister-in-law and for others in hard places. I pray for still others who do not know Jesus and who must face each day without the light, salvation, and stronghold that we can have in Him. I wish and I pray for the hurting and the lost and for miracles – and I thank God for Christmas – the greatest miracle of all when Jesus was born – our Light, our Salvation, our Stronghold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 11, 2014

I See You, Christmas

I See You, Christmas

I see you, Christmas,

in the face of a little child,

eyes aglow in wonder

at the twinkling, dancing lights.

I see you, Christmas,

in the joy young lovers know

sharing hopes, dreaming dreams

and a kiss ‘neath the mistletoe.

I see you, Christmas,

in the family all a scurry,

shopping, baking, decorating,

hurry, hurry, hurry!

I see you, Christmas,

in those scarred, sick, and alone

who cling to you like an anchor

remembering sweet days long gone.

I see you, Christmas,

And the tender gifts you bring,

gifts of wonder, joy, life, and hope,

gifts bestowed by the King.

Yes, I see you, Christmas,

You’re an anchor for my soul,

For the baby in the manger

Is the King who makes me whole.

 

Every Christmas I remember so many Christmases before – precious memories from childhood, sweet memories from those first years as husband and wife, joyous memories with our children and now with a dear grandchild. I remember so many happy Christmases, but I also remember some difficult ones as well – the many first Christmases without – without Grandparents, without our waited and longed-for first daughter, without Dad, without Mom, without a loved brother-in-law, without Poppa and Granny (my in-laws), and without a precious grandson.

 

But there’s something funny about Christmas. In spite of all the happy, sad, mixed-up Christmases we may have known, Christmas seems to always usher in a season of expectancy and hope. As we look back to that very first Christmas when Jesus was born, we’re reminded that God has a plan. Jesus’ life was not an easy one, but He traveled the path laid out for Him all the way to the cross. Why? Because of His love for you and me. It is that love that not only redeems us, but that continues to surround us and help us as we navigate the life that God has planned for us as well.

 

I know that I’ll never be able to fully wrap my mind around that kind of love. But every Christmas, I’ll remember. And as I remember and reflect on all the Christmases with which I’ve been blessed – both the happy and the hard, I’ll once again see the wonder, joy, life, and hope that Christmas brings – all because of Jesus.

 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

 (John 1:14)

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 4, 2014

Christmas Has Already Come

Christmas Has Already Come

 

I love Christmas! I love the beautiful lights and decorations, the sounds of Christmas carols and music, the cooking and the baking. I even enjoy the shopping as I look for special gifts to surprise everyone on my Christmas list. But sometimes ….. instead of truly enjoying all of these things I love, I find myself rushing from one thing to another, crossing items off my list, and hurrying to make sure I get everything done. Instead of enjoying the sights, sounds, and wonder of Christmas, I exchange the beauty and wonder for a mere crossed-off to-do list and a mission accomplished. But guess what! Christmas has already come!

Just this morning I headed to the grocery store to purchase items I needed to prepare a cheese ball, sausage balls, and other snacks for my family’s annual tree-decorating “party.” It’s really not a party, but just something that gradually developed over the years. We eat snacks, decorate the tree, and watch at least one old and favorite Christmas movie, one that we all practically know by heart. Through the years, this has become one of our family’s favorite traditions. Sometimes, we are able to put up our tree on the same day as the local town’s Christmas parade. Then we’ll go to the parade together first. It’s really a simple little event, but getting everything ready requires shopping, cooking, cleaning, and decorating – a lot of work. As I headed to the store this morning, I found myself mentally going over my list of things I needed to do when all of sudden it occurred to me. Did it really matter if I didn’t get everything done? After all – Christmas has already come!

I feel sure God laid this on my heart. Christmas has already come! Sometimes, we can get so distracted by all the “good” things we enjoy and love about Christmas that we forget why we do them in the first place. We can celebrate Christmas with or without a tree or festive decorations. We can celebrate Christmas with or without expensive gifts or thoughtful presents. We can celebrate Christmas with an elaborate feast or a simple meal. We can celebrate Christmas with one candle, thousands of lights, or no lights at all. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, to reflect on His coming then as well as His coming to each of us personally, and to offer our thanks and praise. Christmas has already come, but with every Christmas we have another opportunity to remember, reflect, and rejoice.

I thought about this simple truth – Christmas has already come – as I pushed my cart through the grocery store. I realized anew the absolute wonder of what Christ did for you and me. And I also realized the absolute joy – not in crossing off another item on a Christmas to-do list – but in celebrating the wonder of Jesus’ birth, God becoming man. As I gather with family and loved ones throughout this month, I’m sure that there will be things that I may not get done or that may not work out exactly as I planned or wanted. But I pray that all I do will be done joyfully to celebrate the One who has done so much for me. May you, too, rejoice in knowing – Christmas has already come!

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(Isaiah 9:6)

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 25, 2014

On the Top of My Thanksgiving List

On the Top of My Thanksgiving List

This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. Every year at Thanksgiving I like to stop for a minute, take a little time to myself, and think about the many blessings of the year. Some years the thoughts just tumble forth and I am ecstatic with praise. Other years there may be one beautiful blessing or memory that dominates my thoughts. And then there are those years when something really difficult or painful seems to obscure all other thoughts.

Today, as I thought about these things, it occurred to me that there is always one constant in my thoughts of thanksgiving. It’s always there – right at the top. It’s there when the sweet blessings are too numerous to count and it’s there when I’m ready to go ahead and turn the calendar to a new year. And it was there this morning even as I thought about friends who are facing surgery, others who are battling cancer, still others who are struggling with loss or difficulty, and as I thought about our country that seems to be more and more broken as I read of the unrest in Ferguson.

What is on the top of my Thanksgiving list? God is with me! We usually think about Emmanuel, God with us, during the Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the One who came to save us. But in my own life, I have learned that this is the one thing that I can always cling to no matter what – God is with me! He’s with me when I am filled with joy, thanksgiving, and praise. He’s with me when my heart is broken and when I can’t even put my needs into words. He’s with me in my happiest moments and in my darkest of days. God is with me!

Jesus reminded His disciples of this fact before He departed from them to return to heaven. He first told them what to do and then He said: And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20b). Jesus knew what His disciples didn’t. He knew the troubles, persecutions, and difficulties they would face. What better thing to leave them with than the assurance of His presence with them?

God’s presence makes a difference. Consider the following Scriptures.

  • God’s presence can give us courage, make us strong, and help us not to fear. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • God’s presence can bless us with contentment. (Hebrews 13:5).
  • God’s presence can give us rest. (Exodus 33:14)
  • God’s presence can refresh us. (Acts 3:19-20)
  • God’s presence can be a place of refuge for us. (Psalm 91:1-4)
  • God’s presence can give us great joy. (Psalm 16:11)
  • God’s presence rejoices over us and quiets us with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • God’s presence protects and shelters us. (Psalm 31:20)
  • God’s presence provides comfort. (Psalm 23:4)
  • God’s presence surrounds us with His steadfast love. (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

We know God’s presence with us through the gift of the Holy Spirit whom we receive when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus explained this as He talked with His disciples in John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” What better reason to offer thanks than for the absolute wonder and privilege of having God with us forever?

This Thanksgiving I have so many things for which to give thanks to my Heavenly Father. I know that every good gift I have received has been straight from His gracious, merciful hand. I know that in every struggle or trial I’ve faced, I have not been alone for He is always with me. And as I look into the future with all its questions and uncertainties, I remember His promise: “And behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  What a precious gift to know that He is with me forever. I’m sure this gift will always remain at the top of my Thanksgiving list. Thank You, Jesus!

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 19, 2014

Do You Know?

Do You Know?

 

 

This morning I listened to the song “Mary, Did You Know?” From the first time I heard this song, I’ve loved it. It has become one of my favorite Christmas songs – a must to hear often throughout the Christmas season. But – I listened to it before Thanksgiving!

You see, I’m also a holiday “purist.” Before Thanksgiving we listen to and sing “We Gather Together” and we decorate with pumpkins and fall flowers. Not until after Thanksgiving, do we pull out the Christmas dishes, decorations, and buy Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes! Planning and looking for gifts has been the only thing through the years that I generally did before Thanksgiving!

As I listened to the familiar lyrics this morning, I couldn’t help but smile to myself and wonder what the kids would say if they saw me sneaking in a Christmas song before Thanksgiving. And I wondered about myself. I had been thinking a lot about Christmas lately. I had already treated the family to a tin – Christmas tin, that is – of Swedish ginger snap cookies before I made my gingerbread for Christmas! Am I softening as I get older? Or, am I forgetting about Thanksgiving as my mind wanders toward Christmas?

But as I listened to the lyrics of “Mary, Did You Know?” over and over as I worked this morning, I knew that the good news contained in this song was not only for Christmas – but for every month of the year. The One worshiped in these lyrics deserves our highest thanksgiving and praise in November and He is our rock, strength, comfort, joy, peace, hope, whatever we need every month of the year.

Do we really know that? Or do we hear the stories over and over, so many times, that it doesn’t penetrate our hearts and minds? Do we really know ….

…..that He did the unbelievable – walked on water, calmed the storm

…..that He did the miraculous – blind see, lame leap, deaf hear, dumb speak, dead live again

…..that He is Lord, that He is God, that He is the Great I AM?

And do we know that He is not a has been God – He is still God today. He can still do the unbelievable, the impossible, and the miraculous in your life and mine? The question is – Do we believe?

I believe, oh, how I believe! I know His Word is true, yet how often do I allow the concerns, worries, struggles I’m going through to obscure my vision of who He is and what He can do? I think I just may continue to listen to this song throughout the year to remind me of this One who came to save me, deliver me, and make me new. And may I never cease to thank Him and praise Him for who He is – not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but every day of the year. And I may just celebrate this with a nice slice of fruit cake even if it is before Christmas!

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 11, 2014

The Other Side of Sacrifice

The Other Side of Sacrifice

 

 

Today is Veteran’s Day, a day set aside to thank the countless men and women who served our nation and to honor the sacrifices they made. As I thought about my own husband who served during the war in Vietnam, I asked him if he had a picture he would like for me to share to honor his service. The picture he immediately presented to me was not what I had expected.

You see, I have seen many of his service-time photos, though many have faded through the years. I have seen him smiling and laughing with his buddies as they kidded one another in the barracks or as they enjoyed a brief furlough. I had also seen the one of the handsome, skinny, young man all decked out in his uniform that his mother had so proudly displayed for so long that the picture actually stuck to the glass in the frame. But my husband didn’t give me one of these pictures. Instead, he gave me this one …..

Sam

“This one?” I asked. I’m sure I didn’t hide my surprise. But then I asked him to tell me what was happening in this picture.

“That was a makeshift tent that I constructed to try to get some relief from the sun,” he calmly explained.

Then it hit me. While I had heard his stories and knew something of what he had gone through, there was no way I could fully comprehend the sacrifices he had made. While I was thinking of honoring his service with nice pictures and awards he had received, he was remembering his sacrifices, from the loss of simple, everyday comforts to the weightier thoughts of loss, fear, separation, and the awfulness and stench of war.

Sacrifice is loss, giving up something precious, for something or someone else. And, usually, the only person who fully knows what sacrifice costs is the one who actually makes it. The greatest of all sacrifices was when our Lord Jesus Christ became our Savior by willingly giving Himself to die on the cross to save us from sin and death. Oh, how I’ve rejoiced and praised Him for what He did for me. But, I always want to think of resurrection Sunday rather than crucifixion Friday. I don’t like to think about His pain and suffering. I’d rather think about His victory and defeat of death. Yet that victory was won through suffering and Jesus taught us to remember His sacrifice. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19).

What does remembering what Christ did, do for me? Remembering what Christ did for me helps me to live the life He calls me to live today. As I remember His sacrifice, His love and forgiveness, and His faithfulness expressed in so many ways, I am not only encouraged in my life, but I know that I can trust Him not only today, but also tomorrow.

In much the same way, our sacrifices matter. When my husband looks at the above picture, He recalls some of the difficulties he suffered, but he is also reminded that some men and women will forever wear the scars of battle. Still others never made it home. Remembering these sacrifices reminds us that the freedoms we enjoy, and that we so often take for granted, definitely came at a price. Remembering such sacrifice can affect the way we live today.

On this Veteran’s Day, I’d like to say thank you to the many men and women who have answered our nation’s call and served in our military. Thank you for helping to keep America free. Thank you for the sacrifices that you made that while I may not fully be able to fully comprehend, I do appreciate. And thank you to my husband who taught me even today that sacrifice is rarely pretty  – and as my Savior reminds me, sacrifice often leaves scars.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 6, 2014

Choosing To Believe

Choosing To Believe

 

 

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving – and thanks giving. But through the years, after becoming a Christian, I’ve discovered new depths to what it means to be thankful. Surely, my heart overflows with the wonder of my Father’s love who cared enough for me to allow His Son to die so that I could have eternal life. To be honest, I can’t even begin to comprehend that kind of love. But I am learning that while I may not fully understand or comprehend His love, it’s always there – even in those times when life just doesn’t make sense.

Paul told the Thessalonians: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). For a long time I stumbled on this verse. Even if I’m not necessarily thanking God for the bad things that happen, how do I thank Him in the midst of pain, loss, sorrow, difficulty, and trouble? While I am not a theologian and while there are surely many commentaries out there from reputable scholars who can explain this quite clearly, I’d like to simply share what this verse has come to mean to me.

Bad things happen to all of us. Sometimes, we deserve it. We make bad choices and must bear the consequences of decisions we made. At other times, the bad things that happen to us may be the result of someone else’s wrong choices. At still other times, no one can understand or explain why something bad happens. For whatever reason, however, sorrow or trouble comes. The ball is now in our court. What do we do?

I’m reminded of the question Jesus asked His disciples when many of His followers turned away from Him.  “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:66-67). Jesus had just fed over 5,000 people from two fish and five small loaves of bread. He had walked on a stormy sea. He taught them that He was the bread of life sent from Heaven.

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:35-40).

But they didn’t believe. They turned away from Him. And this is ultimately the question we all have to answer – and especially when life doesn’t make sense. Do we really believe God?

Peter answered Jesus’ question. But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69).

Two years ago this month my son and daughter-in-law lost their first-born son, Silas, who was stillborn.  I quickly discovered that there are plenty of questions, but there are no answers. As I have struggled, however, I often found Peter’s question echoing in my mind and heart. “Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.”

In my own life, dealing with the hard things in life has always – yes always – demanded that I settle one issue first. To whom do I go? In other words, in whom do I believe and in whom will I trust? There is only one who has the words of eternal life – “the Christ, the Son of the living God!

Jesus taught us that we would have difficulty in this world. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In other words, in this world…..

  • You will have trouble……..                           but I have overcome the world
  • You will have trials……….                             but I have overcome the world
  • You will have loss…………                             but I have overcome the world
  • You will have sorrow……..                            but I have overcome the world
  • You will have difficulty…..                            but I have overcome the world
  • You will have ________…….                    but I have overcome the world

And, therefore, because of Christ, I can thank God in my time of tribulation….

  • For His peace (John 16:33)
  • For His comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • For His presence (Matthew 28:20)
  • For His hope (John 14:1-3)
  • For His promise (John 3:16)
  • For His _______

Just as we don’t know what kind of adversities we may have to face in this life, likewise there is no limit to the number of ways that God can cover us with His mercy and grace and bring us through those times.

When I’m facing those hard times, I try to remember that our world is a broken world. This is not the world that God created it to be. It has been broken and marred by sin. One day we will know the world the way God created it. Then we won’t know the sorrow of saying goodbye to a child we never had the opportunity to know. But, because of Jesus, I can know that this dear child lives and one day, I will see and know him, too. Thank You, Jesus!

 

 

 

 

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