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Category Archives: Scripture Finds

Some stuff I’ve found in the Word!

. . . in a better place . . .

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A Dear friend of mine lost her mother to cancer today. 

I didn’t know her, but through knowing my friend, I just know her mother was a phenomenal person.  Have you ever known someone through another’s perspective?  Like, you can feel as though you know the person from having them described to you?  And also as a result of seeing the impact of that person reflect in the life of the person you actually know?

Well, that’s where I am today.  I never knew this woman, but her life is still impacting the world she left behind.  As mothers, we always seem to leave a little piece of ourselves for the world to see through our children.  My friend is a wonderfully creative and down-to-earth person.  She is one of those people who can see beyond the surface level, and see the beauty and deepness in it; which may be lost by the average viewer.  So, I KNOW her mother was an incredibly strong and inspirational woman.

But, what do you say?  What do you do?  When someone you care about has lost someone, especially someone who so profoundly impacted their lives, what can you really do?

I.don’t.know.

Every time I have been confronted with this situation, I fumble miserably around the right words to say, or trying to avoid saying the wrong words.  It’s just not something, we are ever prepared to face, until it happens.

You know, Jesus was a man that walked the earth like we do, and He felt the same emotions that flood through our veins, hearts, and souls.  He wasn’t immune to loss; He experienced great loss.  He lost His best friend.

 

John 11: 33-37 (HCSB)

33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.  34“Where have you put him? ” He asked.  “Lord,” they told Him, “come and see.”

35 Jesus wept.  36 So the Jews said, “See how He loved him! ” 37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying? “

 

Even knowing what would be the final outcome of the situation with Lazarus … knowing, He would call His friend back from the dead . . . Jesus wept.  He felt the pain of those around Him and He was “deeply moved.”

He wept.

He wept with them.  Here is our model.  Here is where we see what we are to do, how we are to respond to our friend’s loss.  Their loved one may be in Heaven, or  a better place, as some call it.  This alone can be cause for celebration of the believer’s life – but, that’s not to take away from, or to forget, the pain of the ones that were left behind.  We don’t have to have the perfect words or the absence of imperfect ones.  We just need to be with them.  To love on them.  To allow ourselves to feel their pain, and to bear it with them.

To my friend:  I love you, and I am here for you.  I am not going to insist you move on quickly, and I’m not going to shower you with cliche’s.  I am in this with you for the long haul. . . even when you feel homesick.

 

Versos en españolJuan 11: 33-37 (NBLH)

. . . the proof is in the pudding . . .

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I’m sure you have all heard the idiom, “The proof’s in the pudding,” or “The proof of the pudding,” which is used to signify the fact that the quality of something can only be determined in the experience of it.  It is actually more clear in the original phrase:

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This phrase actually dates back to circa 1605 in Cervantes’ work Don Quijote, and has been subsequently chopped up, paraphrased and otherwise used in so many ways, that is has come to take on different meanings.  Taking the original form of the word “proof,” which meant “to test” to now mean “proof” as in “the evidence of a test.”  But, let’s not get hung up on all of these details and usages.

The Word-Detective summarizes its original intent quite nicely:

A dish may have been made from a good recipe with fresh ingredients and look delicious, but you can really only judge it by putting it in your mouth. The actual taste is the only true criterion of success.”

As you may have guessed, I do actually have a motive for sharing this brief etymology with you.  The reason is that I see a trend in today’s world of people trying to prove themselves, and/or their work, to the point of extreme exhaustion and stress.  I, myself,  have struggled with this notion a lot over the years.

Maybe it’s just me, I tell myself.

But, when I look to social media and just talking with people, I see that it’s not.  There seems to be this desperate need to prove who we are, what we’re about, and why we’re about it.  Some would say, it’s normal, we’re just wanting to be understood, after all .

https://i0.wp.com/spotonlists.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Prove-ourselves.jpgAnd that sounds a lot more relatable to us, since we don’t want to consider that we are actually out to prove something to the world.  Especially, when we are constantly affirming that fact or hearing others proclaim they, “…have nothing to prove…” and that we ” ...could care less what anybody thinks…” of what we said or did.  

What about when it comes to matters of passion or faith?  Do you ever feel you need to Stand Up for what you believe in?  And by that I mean, to actually verbally “prove” what you believe to be right?  There is honestly nothing wrong with that, and is actually very edifying.  But, when that becomes the driving force, I think it becomes a problem.  Give me a chance to explain…

First, we have to look to the Word.  There’s an interesting account recorded in John chapter 7.  I will go ahead and post the whole first part of it here:

John 7: 1-9 (HCSB)

1After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee, since He did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill Him. 2The Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 so His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go to Judea so Your disciples can see Your works that You are doing. 4For no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5(For not even His brothers believed in Him.) 6Jesus told them, My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it — that its deeds are evil. 8Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to the festival yet,because My time has not yet fully come.9After He had said these things, He stayed in Galilee.

(The verses I highlighted in blue are the ones we will pay special attention to.)

Basically, His brothers urge Jesus to go to the Festival of the Tabernacles, or in today’s language, Mardi Gras, ignoring the fact that He was literally being hunted down by the Italian Mob (of course, in the absence of internet and Google), saying essentially: “Anyone who wants to be known [or Famous], doesn’t hide his work/ talent, but shows it off to the world.”

What crass words to be said to Him.  And you have to think about how hurtful it must have been to even be rejected by your own brothers, younger ones, at that.  Jesus responds in humility, and simply tells them it is not yet His time.

Later, Jesus decides to go quietly to the Festival.  While there, He ends up teaching at the Temple.  Where many people are divided on His teachings and character.  Toward the end of the chapter (John 7:40-53), there is even debate among the Pharisee leaders as to what should be done about Him.

They were arguing over whether Jesus was the true Messiah or not.  Some saying that Jesus comes from Galilee, and the “Real” Messiah would be from Bethlehem, and be born of King David’s line (which both were true of Jesus).  One leader also tried the bandwagon approach (John 7:52), trying to argue that everyone knows nothing good comes from Galilee.

“Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Even though back then, upon further investigation even that claim (although it was irrelevant to Jesus) would be proven false.  As we know that Jonah, a recognized prophet, came from Galilee (2 Kings 14:25).

https://i2.wp.com/www.prayerthoughts.com/prayerthoughts/Spiritual_Warfare/images/pt467_Truthrocks-cropped.jpgJesus came speaking and teaching what God told Him to, and not what He desired (John 7: 16-17 ).  He could have easily made a chart of His lineage, told people where He was born, and shown which other prophesies He had fulfilled up until that point (a la excel spreadsheet, perhaps?).

But, He didn’t; it wasn’t His task, or desire, to “prove” Himself to the World.  Although He could have, since the proof was there.  He wasn’t trying to become famous – He was simply doing the will of the Father.

Instead of teaching in parables, Jesus could have held a public forum/debate to win as many people to His side versus the Pharisees as the evidence was there for the picking.  BUT, that’s just NOT How He Rolled.

He was walking in the Spirit.  Alone at times, even when His family didn’t believe in Him.  He was led by the Spirit and NOT the opinions of man –  That IS How He Rolled! 

He didn’t have a sales pitch; He didn’t have a lecture ready, and He didn’t have a “Holier than thou” attitude.  He didn’t have anything to prove.  What did He have then?

He had Love.  GracePatienceMercyUnderstanding.  He had Healing.  Compassion, and Forgiveness.  Mostly Love, though (even for those who wanted Him dead).  He gave of Himself to the point of death.

http://thevinethatwrites.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/love-like-jesus.jpgBottom Line:

Jesus was not a fame seeker.  He wasn’t out to prove Himself or give all of the facts that would prove who He was, although He easily could have – they were there.

He came to be the Truth in Love. 

Question:

Are you trying to prove yourself to others?  In your actions, posts to social media, or in words?  Are you trying to “prove” God to others?

Just rest in knowing that He comes in Power, and doesn’t need us to do anything in that regard.  As far as proving yourself, just remember that the only one who is worthy of that proof, is the one who created you.

And, He asks us to:  love.

Lastly, I will leave you with one final question to think on:

What does your level of love say about your walk with God?  Nothing? or Everything?

Consider this:  The Proof  of your Christian walk is in the pudding, I mean, in Your life, and the way you Love.  In other words, the way you love, ultimately proves what you’re about and who you follow.

*Peace Out!*

* Julie *

Versos en Español (NBLH):  Juan 7: 1-9 , Juan 7: 40-53, Juan 7:52, 2 Reyes 14:25, Juan 7:16-17

. . . bowing down to distractions . . .

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Have you ever thought or been told that the Bible is so antiquated, that it is hardly even relevant in times like these?  Ironically, I have heard it described this way before, but nonetheless, when I read it, I feel like nothing could be further from the truth.  Like, did you know that the word iphone is mentioned at least 156 times in the Bible??  Well, actually I guess it’s not, but the word: idol is, which is basically the same thing, right?  We will get to that in a minute

The Bible is the Living Word of God, which means it has the ability to breathe life and understanding into situations like no other self-help book out there.

Hebrews 4:12 (HCSB)

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

Every time I read it, I see something new, or gain a new insight, I realize something or see a new comparison (even if I have read that same verse a thousand times), and  the only explanation I can give, is that . . . it really IS living.

Well, the reason I am bringing this up, is because the other day I was reading from the book of Isaiah, which is dated to be written around 701 -681 B.C.  (source).  That is quite a long time before Christ was born, and there are a few chapters in Isaiah, especially Isaiah chapter 53, that prophesy or predict the coming of Christ, and it often gives me chills to read it.

Today, however, I want to direct you to another section of Isaiah.  Pretty close to the beginning.  Isaiah 2 verse 8, and also Isaiah 2 verse 11.  Isaiah was addressing Judah and Jerusalem at the time, but I’m pretty sure when you read these verses, you are going to see a shocking comparison to today.

Isaiah 2:8 (HCSB)

8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.

Wow – did you see that??  What Strong word for today.  No, we don’t necessarily build or carve images or miniature wooden idols to literally worship.  But, this picture of man Bowing down to the work of his hands . . . to what his fingers have made, is real enough and kinda reminds me of this:

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Isn’t this just what our society does every single day?

And, yes in this sense, we are quite literally, bowing down.

When you look at it like this, it is pretty obvious that our land is full of idols.  We are constantly bowing our heads to our phones, tablets, devices, etc.  Well there’s a word that brings new meaning: devices.  We are bowing down to our own devices, now doesn’t that seem like an interesting thought?

https://i2.wp.com/i.huffpost.com/gen/1323300/thumbs/o-HEALTH-APP-WOMEN-facebook.jpgAm I saying that all of those things are evil and should be avoided at all costs?  No.  We obviously couldn’t breathe properly if our phones were surgically removed.

We need them.  We use them all day, every day, to keep appointments, to make appointments, to take pictures of our growing kids, and of course to play Words with Friends, and dare I mention it: Candy Crush into the wee hours of the morning.

Not any one of those things is inherently bad.  So, why all the fuss about the time we spend on phones?  I have actually seen at least 3 different posts about over-usage of smart phones lately.  I think it is because, people are sensing an addictive behavior coming on.

But, why am I bringing this up?

Simply to show you that the Bible is as relevant today as it was more than 2,000 years ago, and will remain relevant 2,000 years from now.

And now, for the other verse  I wanted to share with you:  Isaiah 2:11.

Isaiah 2:11 (HCSB)

11 Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

It goes on to describe a day that is coming which belongs to the Lord of Hosts, a day against all that is lofty, against all that is lifted up (or elevated in priority, perhaps) will be humbled.  I just have to wonder if this is talking about us.

We can be so consumed with the latest technology that we miss out on the life we were meant to have, or are in the very least, only seeing it through the screen of our iphones, and devices:
http://michaeldariano.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/img_0066-001.jpg (What a nice view of the trees overhead showing the change of season.)

I’m just as likely to be seen looking down at my phone as the next person.  SO, I’m not saying this from a Holier than Thou standpoint, just from one that realizes how all-consuming my own devices have become, and realize that God is not surprised at all by this, even if I am.  He wrote about this sort of thing years before it ever happened.  Which makes Him kind of an expert, right?

Bottom Line:

Maybe we should look up every now and then?  That’s Just a thought.  I think we will all be happier if we did, though.

Question:

Which works of your own hands are you bowing down to?  Is it your smart phone, or your need to create the perfect meal to showcase, what is it?

Versos en Español:

Hebreos 4:12, Isaías 2:8, Isaías 2:11

. . . neither do i condemn you . . .

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How exciting, I have reached a blogging Milestone with this post!  It is my 50th post to date! 🙂  I had planned to write a lot more this year, and I am off to a good start!  If you are reading this, thank you for stopping by, and sharing this journey with me!

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For this special post, I want to share with you one of THE single most beautiful pictures of God’s Grace in the New Testament, and a story that truly brings tears to my eyes, which is found in John chapter 8.

Tracking from verse one, we see the scene being set up.  Jesus has returned once again to the temple complex to teach, and as usual, many people have turned out to hear Him speak and teach.  However, unlike many other accounts in the Gospels, something different happens here.  Something that is truly Breathtaking, Amazing, Beautiful even, and so altogether captivating, it is almost as if you can imagine being right there in the crowd.

John 8:3-6 (HCSB)

3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  So what do You say? ” 6 They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him.  Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger.

After reading this,  you may even think to yourself . . .  “This just got real.”

Here this woman is who was caught in the “act of adultery,” so they had actually witnessed her in the middle of her crime, and subsequently drug her out to face the masses in the middle of the temple complex, ready to stone her dead, via public execution.

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Is this not the ultimate badge of shame?

She is caught red-handed; the law requires death, there were witnesses, and everyone is now aware of her crime.  Her scarlet letter is burning hot on her sleeve.

What more to be done now, than to cower in fear, and shame?  However, this particular day, Jesus was in the house.  The Pharisees thought this would be a great opportunity to trap Him, so they put this to Him as some sort of test.  What were they hoping He would say?

Consequently, the next verse is so DRAMATIC and such a shock to those hearing it, it takes a moment for them to register what is actually happening.

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John 8:7-8 (HCSB)

7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”  8 Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground.

I’m sure they were thinking:  Waaait, whaaaat?  That throws a kink in some things.  Who are you to Take this woman’s sin, and throw it back on us?  This isn’t about us, this is about her; her sin, her crime!  Not ours.  But, now that you mention it, how can I throw a stone at this woman?  Have I not lied, cheated, and stolen, manipulated, gossiped, and have I not been proud?

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John 8:9 (HCSB)

9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men.  Only He was left, with the woman in the center.

They couldn’t do it.  Not one of them could throw the first stone.

The hardened Pharisees, were humbled.  The older ones, those with more influence, and wisdom left first.  They heard the truth.

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John 8:10-11 (HCSB)

10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? ” 11“No one, Lord,” she answered.  Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

Jesus was the only one with the right to condemn her, and yet He did not.  He showered His mercy and His grace upon her; like a fresh spring, it refreshed her soul.  He loved her.  He loved them.  He loves us all, no matter our spots or blemishes.

Neither do I condemn you.

These are the words that brought me to tears.  I just kept repeating them to myself, and let them wash over me like a fountain.  Jesus is my breath of fresh air.  Jesus is my tall glass of water.  He renews my mind.  He eases my troubled thoughts (even the ugly ones about myself), and He gives me G R A C E.

https://i2.wp.com/www.churchinthefields.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/trustgirl.jpg

Bottom Line:

His grace is sufficient.

So, What right do I have to judge another human being?  None.  Even Jesus saw past the guilt and shame that was hers; He went so far as to defend her in public.  He protected her, saved her life, gave her another chance.

He  F O R G A V E  her.  He  F O R G A V E  me.  He  F O R G A V E  you.

So, please let it go.  Whatever, it is you’re holding onto, whether it be the Bitterness that comes from unforgiveness, or the guilt and self-loathing of something from your past.  Today is a new day, and His grace is sufficient for you.

Question:

What is holding you back from giving or receiving His grace today?  Why not choose today, to walk in His peace, and rest in His undying love for you? 

As soon as you do, your life will be a portrait of Grace and the overflow will be tremendous.

Choose Grace today.  Choose Peace.  Choose Forgiveness.

Please listen to this song if you can, because I think it really exemplifies this idea even more:

How He Loves Us

Versos en Español:

Juan 8:3-6Juan 8:7-8Juan 8:9Juan 8:10-112 Corintios 12:9

. . . we moms, change the world . . .

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Have you ever wondered how perfect it would be to have been the one chosen to raise, the perfect child?  No, I’m not talking about an extremely well-behaved, well-adjusted, well-rounded child, I’m talking about the Perfect child.  I.e. Jesus.  It must have been an experience, like none other 😉

Well, this is something I have been thinking on for a while now, and since we are given so few accounts of Jesus’ childhood and interactions with His mother, that I thought it would be fitting for us to discuss this a bit further.

In John chapter 2, we are shown the First Miracle, also known as the First Sign, that Jesus performs publicly (why I emphasize, “publicly” you will see in a minute).  Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast!  Do you hear it??  (*You’re supposed to hear a cheer or a  good “amen” from all the Catholics, as a hush falls upon the Baptists* lol) 😉

Anyway, what had happened was this:  Jesus, His mother, and His disciples were all in attendance at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Pretty soon, I’m guessing here, the wine ran out.  Seeing the problem, Mary looks to her son with insistent and pleading eyes and basically says, “Son, they’ve run out of wine!”  He looks over at her and says:

John 2:4 (HCSB)

4 “What has this concern of yours to do with Me,woman? ” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”

But, we get the idea of what He is saying:  “Yeah, and?”  Well, just like any good mother would do – Mary didn’t first consult His feelings on the matter, or think about the long-term consequences of disregarding His statement that it was not yet His time (God’s statement, The Son of Man’s statement, mind you).  I imagine she simply looked at Him with The Eye (You Mamas know what I’m talking about…especially you Southern Mamas!), and proceeded by ignoring Him and instructing the servants on hand:

John 2:5 (HCSB)

5 “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.

In essence, “Jesus, I’m ignoring your last comment, and Telling you what’s what, and what You’re about to do, Because I am Your mother.”  So, of course, the story follows that Jesus takes these 3 Gigantic jars (No, I mean GINORMOUS jars … each had the capacity of 20-30 gallons, we are told), and He turns the water which they held for purification, into wine.

https://pathdiscoveries.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/6e9bf-water-into-wine.jpgWatch this:  In the presence of the servants, His mother, and His disciples- that’s it.  Again, we are witnesses to this unfolding love story Jesus is telling to the Least of These . . . that they are important, they are worthy, they are loved.  It says the Master of the Party did not know anything about the miracle that took place . . . BUT, the servants did.

If he had come, caring about fame and the opinion of man, He would have gathered everyone around and made a big spectacle of the whole thing – But, He wasn’t and so, He didn’t.  This is a topic for another day though; right now I want to get back to the relationship between Jesus and His mother, Mary.

What does this short interaction tell us about them?  Perhaps, it tells us that while this was Jesus’ first public miracle, it probably wasn’t the very first miracle He performed.  In fact, by her response, I would wager that this could have been a common occurrence in their house . . . (*imagine: Jesus, we ran out of flour again…)  Her tone may have even sounded like this, “Oh come on . . . you ARE doing this- whether you want to or not.”  It’s clear at least, that she didn’t take His concern too seriously.  Or, if she did, she saw past it and decided to push her son into action, as mothers often do.

I can almost imagine them in Heaven laughing it up:

Jesus:  Hey, Ma! You remember that time you MADE me provide wine at that wedding, EVEN after I told you it wasn’t the right time?

Mary: Yeah . . . what about it??

Jesus:  Well, you know that little event went down in history as my First act of ministry.  Now, everyone runs around saying, “You know Jesus wasn’t against drinking…the first thing He did, was turn water into wine!… Thanks a lot mom- I look real sophisticated, reeeal legit now. (smh)

Lol . . . no, really I think He could care less about how He “looked,” but it is funny to think about those type of things!

Anyway, in this account, we are able to get a picture of their inner family workings.  Mary was His Mama – She made decisions for Him, and she did the best she could – like ALL of Us moms.  Imagine though, the weight on her shoulders.  She had the responsibility of raising the Messiah after all, and she knew it from Day 1!  No PRESSURE Mary – really – just do your best.  That is, the best you can do as a teen girl/mom and let God handle the rest –

Now, isn’t that just the testimony God is speaking to our hearts?  He’s saying:

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Let me handle what you can’t.

Jesus submitted to His mother in love, and provided wine for the wedding feast.  What a sweet picture of their parent-child relationship!

It was a NORMAL relationship – I think everyone who wishes their child was or would be more like Jesus- perfect, that is – fail to see, it wasn’t as easy as ALL ‘dat.  I mean, Jesus got lost at least once, and here we see He wasn’t interested in helping His mother’s cause – there was hesitation, resistance.  He was HUMAN – Like us.  Not, just God.  With a human face.  He lived and breathed among us.  He wanted the Human Experience, and He got it.

Modern wisdom tells us to listen to our kid’s feelings/ thoughts to the point of not pushing them to do what they don’t want to do, even if you see their talents leaning a certain way.  In other words, let them forge their own way in their own time.

That’s not what we saw Mary do – She saw a need – she saw a solution – Her son.  That was all she needed to push Him into action.  She was essentially saying, “It IS Your time, Son.”

Kids (read: ALL kids, even older/adult kids) need us to reassure them, no doubt, but sometimes they need us to push them in the right direction.

A mom is someone who can have the GREATEST impact on the world, because she is the one who is raising the Next Generation of World Changers and History Makers!  Yes, the child has a part to play in their own lives to be sure, but the MOTHER is the one who sews the first seeds, and helped place the first blocks into place – whether good or bad.

Her presence, or absence, makes the world of difference to her child, and ultimately the World!

https://i1.wp.com/orastories.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/change-the-world.jpg

To the mom reading this right now, I say:

Please stop thinking your job is menial, mom.  Stop gawking at the phrase, “Being a mom, is the most important job in the world,” because, it REALLY is.

It’s true!  You have the power to Literally  C H A N G E  History. . . or not.  Your influence will either spur your child to action or inaction.  It’s up to you.

Stop listening to a culture that tells you that Mothering is the point in your life where you have “settled down,” that your life is put on pause, or that it is over entirely.

I’m more ALIVE and PASSIONATE, now as a mother than I ever was before!  Let that fire inside of you SHINE, and you will watch it manifest in the lives of your children.

Be BOLD, Mom!  Stop letting life Pass You By!

I expect to pass through this world but once.~ William Penn

You will only pass through this way once, mama…
** Do it  ALIVE!
** Do it  STRONG!
** Do it  Tirelessly – (even, while sleep deprived 😉 )!
** Do it  YOUR Best!
And most of all: Do it  PROUD!
Bottom Line:
Being the Mother of the Messiah – Many could have easily said, “Well, He’s gonna do what He’s gonna do . . . He knows what’s better for Him, than I do – He is God, after all.”  But, she didn’t.  She Mothered Him . . . and she DIDN’T do it passively.
Question:
Are you sitting here while your kids are running around, or mindlessly watching T.V. perhaps (this is necessary at times for sanity purposes, lol) wondering, wishing your life was somewhere else?
In the corporate world, or off traveling, or whatever?  (Anything but this monotonous diaper changing, sibling dispute solving/not solving, taxi driving existence!)
Just remember, YOU have the power to change the world.
Are you going to take it?

. . . Christ, the drunkard . . .

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Here in America, and probably in many other parts of the world, we are so concerned with the “appearance of things,” and not so much with the “reality” of things.  Often, we live our lives by how something will be perceived by others.  Not that this is always a bad thing, but we do end up worrying about inconsequential things as a result.

We sweat the small stuff, and make sure all our t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted, before we step out.  We make sure to put our “best foot forward” and try not to share our dirty laundry in public.   But why? Why do we do all of this?  To make it “appear” like we all have it together.  Or, is it some version of civility we are aiming for?  I don’t know, but I DO know that Jesus wasn’t concerned how he appeared.  He was just Himself, and He was so REAL, it was TABOO.

I want to be so real, it’s taboo.

Incidentally, there is an interesting account given us in Luke 7 . . . John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for someone else?” (Luke 7:19).  So once John’s disciples got to Jesus and asked him that, they got the opportunity to witness Jesus healing many people of disease, blindness, and even watched as He cast out evil spirits.  Afterwards, Jesus told them to go back to John and report what they had seen and heard.  Now after John’s messengers had left, Jesus speaks about John to the people who had remained there, saying:

Luke 7:24-28

24 After John’s messengers left, He began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft robes? Look, those who are splendidly dressed and live in luxury are in royal palaces. 26What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet.

27 This is the one it is written about:

Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You.  28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John,but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

This is high praise coming from the Son of Man!  He goes on in the following verses to describe the generation at hand, saying they are basically an “unresponsive Generation.

Read this, but focus on verses 33-35.

Luke 7:31-35.

31 “To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to each other:
We played the flute for you, but you didn’t dance; we sang a lament, but you didn’t weep!
33 For John the Baptist did not come eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon! ’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! ’ 35 Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

So here we see, John was called “Demon possessed,” and can you believe it??  Jesus was called a Glutton and a Drunkard.  Isn’t it funny how we can misconstrue things? Or, how people can blow things out of proportion or make a mountain out of a molehill . . . or [insert another cliche].

However, for people to call Jesus a Glutton and a Drunkard makes me wonder/ think about why He really came here and who he came for:  He came here to serve, not to be served.

He came here, and enjoyed life with those He loved.  He didn’t let the opinions of outsiders get in the way of living life and enjoying it to the full with normal “average Joe” sorta people . . .  and, even with those of ill repute.  He was one of them, one of the guys, in a way, (except he was perfect).

But, here’s a question that might rock your train of thought for a minute:

How can perfect be misconstrued as: Gluttony and Drunkenness?

And his followers (read: disciples), were not his special projects . . . O U C H . . . they were His friends.

Perhaps, we are looking at this with muddled vision- perhaps, we as humans are seeing, but not really seeing.  It’s as if, there is a foggy pair of glasses covering our eyes, and we think we can see just fine.

We can’t.

1 Samuel 16:7

. . . Man sees what is visible, but the Lord looks at the heart.

We  have no capacity to see what isn’t plainly visible.  We have no capacity for what is REAL . . . I mean, really, REAL.

Haven’t we all heard the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:22  quoted to us from the King James Version of the Bible, which reads: “Abstain from all appearance of evil”?  Did you know that MOST versions of the Bible didn’t translate it that way, including the New King James Version?  Most versions translate that verse, in some form of this way:  “Stay away from every kind of evilHolman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).

(There is a great blog, Abandon Image,that actually goes into the translation thing in more depth, here.)

Why is this relevant?  Because . . . LOOK at Christ!  He was taken for a Drunkard.  Is that not the epitome, of “the appearance of evil?

We have to get out of our shells people.  We have to start stepping out and going places “Good Christians” don’t go.  We have to STOP worrying about the APPEARANCES so much, and just be REAL.  Like Christ.

How can we be HIS HANDS, and HIS FEET, if we are so concerned about our house being messy that we can’t invite a friend over?  Or, we are too worried about what it will look like if Suzie So and So, sees us hanging out with the Assiduous Hussy down the street, who is working the corner to be able to feed her kids?

Bottom Line:

We.Have.To.STOP.

We have to stop using 1 Thessalonians 5:22 as a means to shut out the world.

Appearances are not Everything.

Question:

Which does your life more resemble: Christ the drunkard, or the Pharisees (Religious Zealots)?

Versos en Español:

San Lucas 7:19, San Lucas 7:24-28, San Lucas 7:31-35, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Tesalonicenses 5:22

. . . salvation on pre-order . . .

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Oh boy!  Did I mention I LOVE the book of John??  Oh, yes I think I did!

The absolute first thing I was inspired with this morning is just how anointed John the Baptist was.  God calls him, His messenger (Luke 7:27), and rightfully so.  He was sent AHEAD of Jesus to prepare the way for Him, In fact, “He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sinsLuke 3:3

All I can say is, he must have been one Hell of a Preacher man!

IMAGINE . . . baptizing people or being baptized, for that matter- which was something that was not taken lightly at all back then, or now in some parts of the World- merely on the Hope and Promise of a Savior to COME.

https://i2.wp.com/3dota.com/images/PreOrderButton.gifThey were so fired up – they were like those people who pre-order books on Amazon – they pay for it up front, just to be able to be one of the first ones to have it- these people HAD some faith like that, let me tell you!

Shoot–  Now you know there are lots of people who have a hard time coming to Christ knowing what all He has done for them by dying on the cross and having been told of the miracles He performed.  How much guesswork does it take to follow a man who has ALREADY defeated death, AND forgave all of your sins?  Not too much.  But there is still doubt for believers and unbelievers alike.

However, these first believers had to go on P U R E unadulterated FAITH.  To trust that the Savior was coming – they didn’t know His name or what He looked like.  In way of description, John simply said, “…There is one coming whose sandal strap I am unworthy to untie…” (part of Luke 3:16).  Yet, they believed on Him.

WOW!! What a Faith and Hope that was theirs! Then, the very next day we are told that Jesus approached John as he was baptizing, and it says:

John 1:29-31 (HCSB)

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel.”

But it doesn’t stop there, he goes on to say how it is he knew Jesus was the Lamb of God.  Because you have to know, they didn’t have picture messaging back then, they didn’t have photography at all for that matter, so how was John to recognize the Son of Man whom he had never met (save that one time, in utero- but that was a long time ago and people change in appearance after all)?  Well, he explains it here:

John 1:32-34 (HSCB)

32 And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. 33 I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on — He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God! ”

http://lindseygail10.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/say-what.jpgNow, I don’t know about you, but me, I  be like, “Sayyy whaaatt??  Brother just said, he done saw the Spirit of God come down on that man . . . I ain’t seen nothing . . .  Joe, did you see anything descend down on that guy?”  Joe looks over at that guy and then back at me, and says, “Naw, man, I ain’t seen nothin’ like that.”

Then one of two responses would follow, “This joker is crazy…either that or he be smokin’ something mighty strong!”  Or, maybe, just maybe I would have sensed the Spirit of God in the place (as those in attendance must have) and reveled at the sight of the Lamb of God, and at John’s testimony of Him.

That’s what they did.  Now, that is some faith and believing I have never seen!  John was confident that the Lord had spoken to him and he was confident that the Lord would do as He said he would.  So, he went out proclaiming the coming of a savior.  Regardless of how foolish it may have seemed to some.  And, when he went, He went with power because God had personally sent him, and THIS is why people listened to him and subsequently followed him:

6 There was a man named John
who was sent from God.
7 He came as a witness
to testify about the light,
so that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the light,
but he came to testify about the light.

What must it have been like to declare the coming of the Lord?  What can we learn from John and the people he was teaching and baptizing?

Lots, but I think in this case, it would be sufficient to repeat what John says about Jesus later on when his own disciples came to him worried, because after hearing Jesus teach and seeing his miracles, people started flocking to him and Jesus was baptizing more people than John.  So what was John’s response?  He said:

John 3: 27-30 (HCSB)

27 John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

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He recognized that all power comes from God ALONE.

John knew this thing was not about him, and he gave of himself to see the thing through.  He was not only confident in the message God sent him to spread and teach, but he was also confident in who he was in relation to Christ and was rejoicing in what Christ was doing and becoming.

That’s how we need to be:

* Confident in Who we are, because God made us that way for a reason, a season, and with a purpose.

  * We need to recognize where our talents come from and put them to good use.

* We need to be Confident in what God has told us to do, and do THAT unashamedly.

Are you Confidently  LIVING out His plan for your life?

If so, right on!  If not, pray that He helps you where you are to lay down the burden of unrighteousness (that is not your load to carry)  and to PUT ON the truth of His word about you!

Versos en Español (TLA):

San Lucas 7:27, San Lucas 3:3, San Lucas 3:16, San Juan 1: 29-31, San Juan 1: 32-34, San Juan 1:6-8, San Juan 3:27-30

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