Friday, October 6, 2017

The Word, The Life, The Light, The Lamb

I love the first chapter of John. It is a passage that is absolutely rich with The Word and why it is so important for us.

John 1

In this first chapter, we are told that The Word (Christ) has been with us since the beginning of time, that nothing was made without him, that indeed he is The Life and that The Life was The Light of men. He shines in the darkness....AND THE DARKNESS CANNOT OVERCOME IT.

So Jesus has been part of the picture since the beginning. He was not a backup plan God created to fix a situation that went awry. He was there when God was creating us and this beautiful world.  When the whole debacle in the garden happened, God was not surprised. He made a way.

Enter hundreds of years later - John the Baptist heralding the coming of The Word in flesh. in verse 8 we are told John came to bear witness about The Light.

It goes on to tell us that Jesus is the true light which gives light to everyone and the world was made through him but did not know him. He came of his own accord to his own people who refused him, but to all who did receive them - he gave the right to become children of God.

So then and there John (the Apostle - not the Baptist) gives us the reason he wrote the book. To show us The Light. To show us that there is life through understanding. John the Baptist then proclaims Jesus's purpose - The Lamb. "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Then and there God's provision is made known. Christ was sent as a sacrifice to be the ultimate offering for sin. The completer of the plan.

The Gospel is an amazing thing when we take it in on a daily basis. There is a supernatural lifting of the mind and spirit from a place that is low to a place that is much higher than I can be on my own.

The Gospel shines a light on our sin - making us aware of our need of a Savior and then actually providing salvation from the eternal death sin brings.

Jesus is The Word - the explanation for a world that needed vision into their darkness. God provided The Light and thereby the solution which was the ultimate sacrifice of The Lamb of God that brings us - The Life - which is enjoying fellowship with him and his son both now and forever.

So beautiful. So necessary.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

More Gliding - Less Slogging

So a few months ago I said I would revisit what things are needed keep away from what I like to call "slogging".

Slogging happens when we allow ourselves to get bogged down in the cares of this life.

For a Christian that generally means putting things ahead of God. It can mean worrying more about what your house looks like than what your soul looks like. For me - it generally means I have taken the reins away from God and am resolved to do it on my own. I like it that way. Problem is - it never works.

I compare it to my manic depressive episodes. I have never been diagnosed. But I know that I have some naturally occurring highs and lows. My grandmother was definitely manic depressive and I know what it looks like. I wonder if I will land there some day - but - until then I have chosen to deal with it the healthiest way possible. But as usual - I digress. My highs I feel GREAT. I take on everything. I am all things to all people. I am creative and productive and a bubbling, sparkling source of encouragement until I am not. I hit the skids and I stop - full out stop. I let down whatever things I was going to do, I let down my family by backing into a corner and I am no longer the sparkling, bubby thing I was just days before. I drop out of life. I can no longer cope. I can hardly get up to manage my household. I do, and I go to work and I love on my people but I am not my best when I get home. Usually I am the worst - because I have given it all away during the day and have nothing left for my family.

I have such guilt.

And I quit volunteering for things. I quit participating in things. Because I feel like such an ass that I just leave people hanging. It is hard to give explanations as to why you have come to a point where you feel you can no longer function. I hate to tell people the whole sordid story. It is embarrassing. Mainly because if you start talking to me and I am honest - I cry. I HATE to cry. Let me just reiterate what I just said...I cannot say it clear enough...I HATE TO CRY. And there for a while it's all I did. And it just made me more miserable. I could not explain it to my husband. I could not explain it to the people who saw me at church. I was sad. Soul wrenchingly sad. And I couldn't really tell you why.

It has gotten better. Some of it I do believe is nutrition and since I have started drinking Shakeology every day, I find I am better. But I still feel the gentle highs and lows. It is a way of life. I long for the manic times though. I love them. But I can't seem to have them without also having the lows.

I long for more gliding - less slogging.

I glide best when I do a few important things:

Stay in the Word.
Pray without ceasing.
Actively seek to serve others before myself
Separate from negative influences - that's people, media, or things, peeps
Make a plan (that is manage my time well - the HARDEST)

I said I would revisit these back when I wrote this: The Sun Rises, The Rain Falls

So  over the next few days I am going to ponder why staying in the Word is so important, and why it seems to relieve me of my tendency to slog.

The Parable of the Sower is my first example of why it is so important to be in God's Word.

Click the link above to read.

The Parable of the Sower is a wonderful illustration of why the Word of God is so important. It gives us deep nutrition so when the pressures of life cause us to want to wither and fall away, we stand firm - even flourish. When in the Word we absorb the strength to withstand that pressure. I want the things that I do each day to mean something - to land somewhere and take root and stand whatever thing that comes up against me. God's Word gives me that ability .

Blessings

Sunday, October 1, 2017

So Life....

It happens - you know it. I know it.

It is not a bowl of cherries. There is a reason for that. And even as I know this reason, I still struggle with the difficult stuff.

I have so much to be thankful for. And so many things that absolutely take my breath away - in a good way.

And then there are the hard things...things that absolutely take my breath away - in a bad way. And I am not thankful. I am - well - I am totally pissed.

Every day I try to trust and weary not. And to be honest with you this last week I just gave up. I didn't even try. And it was a horrible week. I felt terrible, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I hated my job. I resented my husband and my kids and I wanted to climb into my bed in the fetal position for the first time in maybe 2 years.

And I sound like a total whiny baby. I'm feeling sorry for myself. I hate that.





This picture is of a note I had written - maybe three weeks ago? The top part - I had just prayed that God would help me be happy with HIS choices for my life and to trust HIM through good and bad.

Seriously - not two hours after writing this, sewage backed up into my basement. I was cleaning poop up at 11:00 PM and trying to figure out what to do.

The part underlined in green is what I wrote after this happened. hahahaha! Seriously - it was funny.

3 days and $1200 later we get the septic tank and the pipe cleared and we are good again. God totally helped me and I moved on with strength and very little whining.

A week later I get a call from my brother that Dad has cancer again. This is his 4th bout. I knew it was a possibility. I knew that it could happen. But I was stunned and sad and frankly - at a loss. I prayed. But it was just hitting the ceiling and coming back to me - or it felt that way anyway. That is when I quit doing what I know I need to do. I quit reading my Bible. I quit praying - except in this superficial way (clearly thinking it would do no good). I quit eating  right (trying anyway) and I quit exercising. I quit cleaning my house. I quit taking care of my face and hair. Was I depressed? No...really - not. I just felt like it was all useless.

Now a week later I am coming to see that I am very wrong in my failure to keep on doing what I know I am supposed to do.

I feel terrible. And worse than that - I feel buried. Like I am behind. And I won't be able to catch up. And my spirit is out of step with God and it is lonesome.

So I figure there are a couple of things I can do about this. I can allow this to spiral downward - to become an even worse problem. Or I can stop it right here and do what I know to be right.

So that is what I am going to do.

I am squaring my shoulders. Making my food plan for the week. Pulling out my notebook that holds my prayer requests and notes on what I am reading and I am going to set my alarm to wake myself at 4:30AM going to bed promptly at 9:00PM so I will get up and exercise, read and take care of my face and hair. And I am going to pursue God while I help others and pray fervently for Dad and call Mom and encourage her and I will do it all through the strength of God.

Because - I cannot.

Without God I cannot.

No matter how many times I square my shoulders and pull out my notebook and make my plans...I will always plummet to the "vanity of vanities - all is vanity". Useless. It is all useless.

Except for - the one who called me is faithful - and

Philippians 1:6 [Full Chapter]
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

This is where I must lay my burden. Because without Christ - it truly is useless. And he will be faithful to complete what he began in me. This life that knocks the life out of me is HIS. I cannot manage it. I try. Lord knows I do. But He doesn't want me to. He wants me to live it through Him. 

He reminds me every day. 

I have to believe it and do it. The strength will be there when I need it...and it will be there for you too when you need it.

Blessings