Each day is an opportunity.  Each day is a gift.  Each day is…

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“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:12-14

There once was a young girl, about 16, who longed to find true love.  She searched for it in the people she met, giving so much of herself away in hopes of receiving a small amount of love in return.  Yet, only pain, suffering, humiliation, shame and great loss ensued.

Years past.  Although her search never ceased, her heart was weary and became ever doubtful of finding her one true love.  Another series of losses, pain and suffering came.  Only this time she knew something had changed.  Something was unsettled in her heart. Calling a friend, who immediately came to her, she was prayed over in the name of Jesus.

A strange sensation fell upon her.  Was it true love?  Her friend asked if she’d wanted Jesus to be her Lord and Savior.  Again, another feeling.  Was it peace?  She said yes and asked for forgiveness of her many, many sins. Next she asked Jesus to be her personal Lord and Savior.

Then it happened. An explosion of emotion.  Her heart was filled to overflowing. She found her One true love.  Sins washed away by the blood of Christ, she was given new life.  She was a new creation in Christ.  Alive and in love with Jesus.

What this story reminds me of is hope.  When we look at each day as an opportunity, we allow the Lord to show us what it means to love others more than we love ourselves.  In Mark 12:30-31 we read,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all our mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

To love your neighbor as yourself means to begin to put others above you.  This friend did just that.  Leaving her own family and came to help her friend.  That story is mine.  I am the lost girl looking for true love.  My friend, Lanny, was my lifeline to Christ.  She loved me as she loved herself.  She loved me because Christ first loved her.  A precious gift indeed.

When I woke up this morning I was faced with, well, a rat problem.  Not something we generally view as an opportunity.  Yet, it in a weird way it has been.  It allowed me to stop and problem solve.  How can I rid our home of the rat while still allowing the other events of the day to still occur?  When I stopped and prayed, I was able to see an opportunity for my daughter to have extra time with her friend.  A slight change in plans, but better for her.  Getting rid of the rodent is of high importance.  However, with all of the challenges and changes we’ve been faced with as a family allowing fun and frivolity to happen is very important.  So, even with a rat roaming around our home I will say, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised.  Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8:56 NIV) 

The rest for me was sitting in the middle of a crowded mall listening to classical music and writing.  My daughter was spending time with a good friend, while my younger daughter is at a junior high event with our church playing games, eating pizza and learning something about Jesus.  My husband was home enjoying, I pray, much needed quite time. Hoping our dogs were quiet.

So in this unusual place, with so much chaos going on around me I am delighting in it all.  I am reminded of Psalm 103:1-5;

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 

Of hope and joy life is reborn,

No earthly gift can change.

Pain and suffering are no more,

His death our lives were exchanged.

Be of good courage,

Praise the Lord dear soul.

Like a flower you’ll flourish,

In His garden you will stroll.

As you seek, you will find,

For He gently awaits your call.

In return is your peace of mind,

And a calming of the squall.

Be hopeful and joy-filled,

Love life and do good.

And your heart will be fulfilled,

In Christ forever understood.

I pray that each of you knows the beauty that comes from the storms in life.  That you can, in the midst of your storm, bless the Lord for His faithfulness; that you remember God’s unfailing love and forgiveness.  I pray that you trust in the Lord with all of your hearts.  To know Jesus is to know freedom.

May God bless you and keep you.

Debra J.

for i know the plans

 

 

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The Purity of the Womb and the Tomb

Photo credit: D. Scowden 12/2015

Jesus-born from the seed of a woman,
Came into the world from the virgin’s womb.
Nursed and nurtured from that same bosom,
To later come forth from a virgin tomb.

                 In Matthew 27:57-61 we read about the details of Jesus’ burial.  I wanted to know more so I read a Bible commentary that spoke of His virgin birth and His resurrection from a virgin tomb.  We know the virgin birth is one of a kind.  The fact that Jesus rose out of a virgin tomb was something I’d never thought of before, never really knew.

In a way that only God can, He showed me Jesus’ pure, undefiled majesty this morning.

Why is this so significant?  I think because I am the exact opposite.  Impure.  Defiled.  Plain and ordinary.  In these details, I’m given a different picture of Jesus.  One that has opened my eyes and heart to the great love He has for me, for you.  It’s not that I haven’t know His love for me before this morning.  It’s just that I am seeing it differently.

Humanity – broken and defiled by sin.  A treacherous, evil-hearted people, whom the Father loves so much that He brought forth, not just once, but twice, His innocent Son, from purity.  The ultimate price for me.

The purity of the womb and the tomb.  The undefiled nature of God.  The miraculous and majestic resurrected Christ.  A beautiful picture of the gift our Heavenly Father has given us.

On days that feel hopeless, dark and dreary, remember those few hours of utter darkness before Jesus gave up His Spirit.  Then the veil was torn, light was everywhere and for everyone. (from Matthew 27:45-54)  Close your eyes and imagine the scene.  Know that He did all of that just for you and me.

So, not matter what is going on in your life, the Lord knows, cares and will – take care of you.  He shows us in the beauty of His creation.

 The trees are barren
no life do I see.
The air is bitter
and cold.
Is there hope of life
outside?  I ponder.
In brokenness and strife
my heart wants to flee.

Yet in the quietness
of this winter,
I see a sign, a glimmer
of hope.
A bird is perched
on yonder branch.
Of life and love
will beauty enter.

I thank You, Lord
for this strife.
For the days of
winter and of cold.
Your hope is real
and true, and sure.
As true as when from
purity came your life.

The trees are barren,
life will unfold.
Of time I will
no longer fear.
In quiet moments
do I hear,
Your sweet song,
my hope it holds.