Saturday, January 29, 2011


Tonight I'm reminded that we should all be brave! Not because we are perfect or what we are going to do or say is perfect, but because the only way we get better at something is to take a chance!

If we never took our first step, we would not be walking.  We would look stupid crawling around as adults! Yet, we keep all our talents to ourselves, scared to show them to the world. We might get criticized. We might get laughed at. We might do it all wrong! But, at least we started. We launched! We did something!!  There is always room to improve, but if we never start, then we simply never get any better.  So, get out there and take a chance. Do something brave!

Here is my friend doing something brave. She has been learning guitar for about a year. I didn't even know that she sang, and she even wrote the song. Why? Because it was important to her!! I love that. And, she is an extremely shy young lady, so this is HUGE in my book!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bad News

A friend emailed yesterday with bad news: her brother-in-law, the father to her only niece, has just found out he has cancer.  That is bad news. But, what makes it even worse news is that her sister, the mother to her only niece, just passed away four years prior with cancer.  Pretty tough to swallow, and all I could think was, "this isn't fair."

Immediately after hearing this bad news, I felt compelled to have a little "what for" talk with the Lord.  I am not sure why I do that. I know it's not his fault. We simply live in a broken world full of many diseases.  I tried to think of some encouraging words for my friend. The only thing that came to mind was (paraphrasing) don't borrow tomorrow's troubles because today has enough of it's own.  I didn't tell her that. I just tried to love and hug her through email while holding back my tears.

This morning I ran across this verse in Matthew 13:17, "For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." Jesus was talking about the coming of the Messiah. Many had already given their lives to preach this message but never actually seen him.  They didn't live long enough - and some of them lived a long time! Yet, Jesus' current audience was seeing scripture fulfilled.

Reading this verse today gave me a glimmer of hope for the future. Many are down on their knees praying for a cure for cancer, probably much like our grandparents prayed for a cure for small pocks.  Yet, like these many righteous men who never got to see Jesus, we may never see the cure for cancer in our lifetime. But, we shall continue to pray because our kids or grand kids may be the ones who receive it. Plus, we serve a big God and sometimes people are healed. I was.

Even though it seems like the odds are stacked against you when you hear that terrible "C" word, pray anyway.  Don't let the devil get you down! Stand up and fight! And remember, Jesus did show up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Matthew Chapter 10 'nuf Said!

As I read this chapter with fresh eyes this morning, I feel excitement, caution, worry, and pride all wrapped up into one. I see a Jesus who was calling his troops to battle. In his eyes, these men were ready for the challenge. They were ripe for the picken!  I can see the excitement in the disciple’s eyes, fresh, ready to take the charge. After all, the ultimate King of Kings was calling them to duty. How proud and honored they must have felt.

Yet, Jesus speaks with authority and caution, trying to make them understand what is before them. He tells them they will be persecuted. He uses the metaphor of sheep and wolves. I don’t know about you, but I would be scared to death to be a little newborn sheep, white as snow, without a blemish, thrown out to pasture with wild wolves all around (or coyotes for that matter). Yet, that is basically what he is telling them here. They are the “sheep among wolves…therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” 10:16

While he is sending them into dangerous territory, he is also equipping them with every tool he has. He gives them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Wow! Now those darn evil spirits have to listen to these 12 as well as Jesus. How empowering it must have felt to know they had that ability. Up until this point, only Jesus could do such things. 

Later he tells them, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” 10:26  All events surrounding Jesus had been somewhat mysterious. People didn’t understand who he was or how he could do the things he did. How exciting to know that all this mystery was now going to be fully understood by the chosen disciples. They were going to know and understand!  As I put myself in their shoes, I’m getting pumped up for the challenge even more, and standing a little taller because Jesus himself is disclosing mysteries to me, a mortal man!

I can see Jesus sensing this pride his disciples are feeling. He continues with love, grace and cautious optimism, warning them not to worry about those who can kill the body because they can’t kill the soul. (Yikes. You mean there is a chance this could end in death?) And then he discloses another mystery: He hadn't come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword. (Balloon now somewhat deflated, eyebrows raised, got the disciples attention on that one!) Jesus probably would not have said it had they not been thinking it. Isn’t that what we all want…peace on earth, no more wars, everyone being of one accord? I’m sure it was no different then. “Sorry guys, it ain’t happening,” is basically what he told them in today’s vernacular. “But don’t worry too much about that,” he continues!

This charge set before them was exciting and yet a bit scary. But these men were willing. They had obviously experienced something supernatural in their short time with Jesus…something that pushed them on toward the goal. Something that made them leave their father, mother, sons and daughters.  Something that lasted even after Jesus' death. Those secrets must have been revealed in order to live out this call of duty. They certainly knew something that made them so brave and fearless to preach the good news. 

Jesus deposits all of that on the inside of each of us when we become his beloved and walk in his word.  He casts out all fear. He gives us perfect love. These disciples were given all of that. They were fully equipped by Jesus himself, and so are we if we take up our sword daily and follow him.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Staying Committed

Last night I was cooking dinner and my kids were cleaning their room. My son comes out and says, "This is hard and I don't like doing it!" Understandable.  I tell him, "We never like doing the hard stuff, but anything worth doing is going to be hard."

Then, it occurred to me that Jesus did the hard stuff for me.  He died on the cross, not me. He was tortured and brutally killed, not me.  I don't even have to go through the rituals that people did in the old testament times. I don't have to kill a sacrifice and bring it to the temple.  I just have to ask for forgiveness and it is given. How easy is that?

While I'm extremely grateful to live in this day and age, it occurred to me that I take my faith for granted because I'm not the one who had to do the hard stuff.  It was done for me.  Yet, I still have a torch to carry to the next generation. If my light goes out, so goes the faith of my children and their children. While I may not have to bring a burnt offering to the Lord, I still have things that I need to do like reading the Word, sharing my faith, sewing into my kids faith.  These are not things I would consider hard. The hard part is simply staying committed and conscious of doing them.

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