Have you ever seen anybody receive a big prize before? If so, you undoubtedly saw a great smile on their face and lots of excitement at having received such a gift or victory. Sometimes they even dance a little dance! So cute! It makes me smile to see their excitement! Our brother Paul also enjoyed seeing people ultimately happy, as does our Father and that is why He gave Paul the purpose in life that he had. Paul shared his heart in writing to the Colossians and to those who had not ever met him personally about how he struggled and worked hard at carrying out that purpose which was to help others to be encouraged in heart and united in love. The reason he gave for this effort was so that people would have the riches (the prize) of fully understanding or knowing the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. At the time of Paul’s writing, there were threats against the successful forward movement of God’s Truth and the saints of that day needed encouragment and love to not be overcome or misled by the enemy’s lies. This is true of our society today as well. The enemy is always trying to thwart God’s efforts from being carried out and the saints need love and encouragement to keep going so they can help others because oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! It leads others to the gift of eternal life with our Father and that is truly something to smile about and get downright excited enough about to dance a victory dance when it happens! Paul set a good example that there is just a whole lot of good that comes from sharing a little encouragement and love with others. I’m a gal that is all for that. I so love seeing people smile and filled with hope! Our Father so loves the people of the world and He greatly desires to see all receive of His great riches and treasure found in Christ. Did you know that when that happens, even the angels are encouraged and rejoice in Heaven. Hmmmm. I wonder if they do a victory dance? Woohoo! That thought, too, just makes me rejoice as I step out into this day. United in love with you in the efforts of our Father -
Oh, how our Father loves us and desires our love in return. So much so, that He is a God of humility and grace and is one that recognizes the importance of communication in His relationship with His people. I have heard it said that communication is to a relationship what oxygen is to the body – it is vital to healthy relationships. Our Father desires to communicate with us and He desires we communicate with Him. Our Father’s Word says if we confess our sins to our Father when we have sinned against Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we don’t have that communication or acknowledgement with Him, it affects our relationship with Him. If only one person extends humility and grace in a relationship, the relationship is not healthy. Our God is a God who loves us and desires a heart of unity with His people. I so admire that and I so want to be just like Him, not only in my relationship with my Father, but with all people. To be humble in owning our sin and to forgive as we have been forgiven is a beautiful thing. I’m all about having a beautiful life. I’m stepping out with a heart of grace today. I pray His grace and peace to you all today as well. Jesus loves us and showed great humility in order to have a relationship with us when He came to this earth and died on a cross for our sins to give us a relationship with our Father – now how cool is that? Here is an awesome song that says just that:
The people of Burma and their land is unlike any place on earth, but the problems they face are present everywhere. I could tell many stories from my 24 days of travel there, but if there is a message in all of it, this is it. Our greatest calling is to live in oneness with God and man. In order for us to do this in a fallen world, we must know how to live out what is written on the shirt that every “Free Burma Ranger” wears.
It says: “Unite and work for freedom, justice and peace. Forgive and don’t hate each other. Pray with faith, act with courage, never surrender.” This would only be a nice sediment if I hadn’t seen and felt what is happening through this family of courageous Kingdom warriors. The following story was my greatest moment in Myanmar as I witnessed the heart of Jesus and the Eubank family (Dave, Karen, Sahale, Suu, and Peter and thousands of Burmese ethnics):
I got up early to have a bowl of rice and hear a five-minute brief from Dave Eubank as he made sure we all knew what to do as we made the two-hour walk into the enemies’ camp. It was a mission that would give these newly-trained Free Burma Rangers their first real look at the very army that had burned their homes, raped their women and killed their families. As we began to walk, I had a sense of wonder of what was going on in the hearts of these young brave men and women as they marched directly toward the army they had been fleeing their whole life. As we approached the place where we would get a look at the camp, the troops were silent and steady. Our pace was just shy of a jog and their was an anticipation that felt more like I was walking into a fight than approaching a lookout point. When we arrived, I watched the veterans set up to take videos and pictures and watched the new rangers stare with wonder. We were close enough to hear the Burmese armies’ voices and the sounds of their illegal construction work. After they had all the footage needed, Dave signaled for everyone to gather around. What happened next changed me forever. These people that had just looked upon their enemy, got on their knees in the dirt and in the Karen language prayed two requests to our Father. 1) Show this enemy of ours mercy and not judgement as you have shown each of us mercy. 2) Help us stop these people from doing wrong. In Jesus’ name!
I don’t know what is troubling you, but I encourage you to gain a Kingdom perspective on the battle we are in. It is not battle against your perpetrator. Is is a battle against hate and a battle for love. Go rangers! Never surrender!
I’m doing Friday with y’all! What a gift it is to do so! I’m anxious to jump into Dad’s Word again today and expand a little bit more on where we left off yesterday with Peter and his heart that loved Jesus and greatly wanted to be loyal to him and yet in his humanness, he ended up denying Jesus when the pressures of fear were upon him as he was standing in the courtyard of the place Jesus had been taken to be tried by religious leaders. Just as Jesus said would happen when the rooster crowed twice, Peter denied Jesus a third time. At that moment, the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Ouch! Knowing Jesus though, it was not a condemning look, but rather a look that identified with Peter – a unity that said I understand where you are at and I am with you in this experience. None the less, it broke Peter’s heart to think he had failed his beloved Jesus. Dad’s Word says that he broke down and wept. Poor Peter, I can relate to Peter’s heart and if you can, too, I would like to encourage you as Dad has encouraged my heart, in that Dad works good through our mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20 in that we learn from our mistakes and thus we grow and are conformed more and more to the image of Christ as we gain experience. It is appropriate that if we have hurt our Father or someone else, to acknowledge that sorrow over sin to them and then begin afresh to do different moving ahead. Dad says if we confess our sins before Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Bless Him! Grace is a good thing! We are all human and for the mistakes of all mankind, Christ sacrificed Himself to taste death in our place that the wages of our sin would be paid by Him. As a Savoir, He models what grace is to look like and as He forgives us, He says we are to forgive others. I don’t know about you, but when I am hurting because of my sin, it is a blessing to hear grace is extended to me. After Jesus’ resurrection, He sought to encourage Peter that He was still accepted. How wonderful this must have been to Peter’s heart that loved Jesus so much! That Jesus – He sure was sweet! After this scene in the courtyard, Jesus’ was turned over by the religious leaders to the Roman ruler Pilate for a civil trial. Pilate had been warned by his wife that he should have nothing to do with the innocent man Jesus as she had suffered much in a dream that day about Him. Hence Pilate was leary as a result and found no crime committed by Jesus. Pilate surmised that the religious leaders were just envious of Him. Therefore, he sought to see if the public would accept the release of Jesus over Barabbas as it was customary for a prisoner to be released at the time of the Passover Feast. The religious leaders were not about to let this happen and so they persuaded the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas instead and to request crucifixion for Jesus. The crowd was easily led as they didn’t have a formed opinion about who Jesus was. This is of key importance in making good verses poor choices in life! Pilate was easily led in this choice as he feared public opinion that could affect him politically. If he truly knew who Jesus was, He would have feared Him even more! What the crowd said went with Pilate. Hence Jesus was handed over to be flogged and crucified as was prophesized. Rejection upon rejection – it must have been hard, but Jesus endured because Dad’s Word tells us He had His eyes fixed on the joy set before Him which was eternity and His Father’s great love and purpose for Him. With this in mind, He persevered and even amazed Pilate at His composure as cruel accusations were hurled at Him with an attitude of wanting to destroy Him. Jesus was a real trooper! Perhaps in His mind He could hear His Daddy’s Words that were spoken over Him as He was baptized by John “You are my Son whom I love and with you I am well pleased.” Maybe He heard His Dad reminding Him that He was fearfully and wonderfully made and that He knew the plans that His Dad had for Him – plans to prosper Him and not harm Him. He may have been focused on His great eternal reward upon completion of the hard work ahead and the blessing His work would bring to many. He may have been singing songs of worship in His heart to His Dad, giving thanks for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of His enemies by loving them or saying prayers for strength to keep on. Perhaps He was reminded of His Daddy singing a little song to Him like this one that I sometimes imagine my Daddy singing to me when I’m sitting on His lap in my mind “I love you, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!” Why when my Daddy sings that song to me, it flat keeps me going – look out as all hands are on deck! Oh, with these thoughts in mind, it’s gonna be a great day I do suspect.
Mk 14:66-15:15, 16:7; Mt 27:19; Ro 6:23, 8:1, 28-29; Heb 4:15-16, 12:2; Col 3:13; Lk 3:21-22; Jer 29:11; Ps 139:14; 1 Co 3:10-15; Php 4:6; 1 Jn 1:9, Jn 3:16, 21:1-25;
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Traveling through Tuesday with ya! Neither of us are alone this day, so I guess we could then say it’s “two’sday”, huh? The disciples are traveling today in a boat with Jesus and I have to chuckle as they remind me so much of me! It is just like me to leave my country home and get almost to town about ten miles away and remember, “oh, great. I forgot my lunch or I forgot this or that.” The disciples realized after they were out in the boat with Jesus that they only had one loaf of bread. I am assuming the one loaf they had was pretty small based on the context of the story and it was not enough to feed them. This really wasn’t a problem with Jesus on board as He could’ve easily provided for them from their small supply as He did the 5,000 and the 4,000 people, but this hadn’t clicked with the disciples yet. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” This left the disciples scratchin’ their heads and I imagine a “deer in the headlights” look, asking “Why did Jesus say that?” They concluded to each other like “Dudes, it is because we have no bread.” Aware of their discussion as Jesus always is in our lives, He responded “Why are you talking no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? Don’t you remember when I broke the five loaves, feeding the 5,000 and also feeding the 4,000? How many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? When they answered twelve and seven, he said “Do you still not understand?” Ouch!!! The poor disciples again. They were always struggling to get it and I can so understand that ‘cuz they remind me of me again! Can you imagine being Jesus and having so much knowledge and trying to communicate it to these new believers? The God of the Universe who truly is a “know it all” is trying to explain what He knows to His kids who struggled to get it. People can be in different places spiritually and sometimes it can be difficult for them to relate to others. It’s sometimes made more difficult when we use jargon and parables that are not understood. Dad says we all need to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Jesus desired to teach the disciples, but they struggled to figure out what Jesus was trying to tell them. In this story, He was trying to warn them that there were people who could lead them astray. The disciples thought Jesus’ comment was a different issue. It was one of those difficult situations where Dad worked good through it for the growth of His kids, using it as a teachable moment in their lives just like He does in ours. Ok, in light of this, here’s my new motto if I lack wisdom: “Just ask.” Dad says He gives generously to all who ask without finding fault. He’s so loving and so smart. I wanna be just like Him when I grow up! Well, I better start oaring through this day. Sisterly love to ya’ll! Mk 8:14-21; Eph 4:2-6; Ro 8:28-29; 1 Co 2:1-3:2; Ja 1:2-8