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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Read Beth Moore’s Instagram post on Jesus, our true Light. I can’t possibly improve on her words. Not even going to try. Read this. Please.

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John 14 verse 6 gives us three more names for Jesus.

Read this verse emphasizing the word THE. It is singular – there is no other way, no other truth, no other life, apart from Jesus. For those of us who believe all the red words in the Bible, you can spin it no other direction. How can we access God? Jesus. What is truth? Jesus. What does this life mean? Jesus.

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Another name used to describe Jesus – our Mediator. It’s a legal term mentioned in Hebrews 12:24 – Jesus as the mediator of a new covenant.

A mediator is a go-between, the person who interposes between parties in order to bring reconciliation. One way to reconcile is to restore a friendship. What a wonderful perspective of Jesus and what He did for us. He is the One who bridges the gap between heaven and earth, between a Holy God and those of us who are unclean with sin. Instead of temporary animal sacrifices, Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice – Himself – once and for all. He has reconciled the broken relationship and restored us back to God.

Hebrews 12:24

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One of Jesus’ more well known names was first revealed in Mark chapter 3 when “Son of God!” was shouted by unclean spirits as He cast them out of people. My takeaway? Even the demons recognize the power & authority of Jesus, why do we even question?

As we prepare our hearts in this Lenten season, contemplate the power available to you through the mighty name of Jesus.

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Other years I’ve blogged through the days of Lent. This year it’s time for something different. Though I love writing, I also enjoy taking photographs, so this year, I’ll be posting pictures of my interpretation of the many names of Jesus

Christ, from Christos, meaning “Anointed One”

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. Some choose to abstain from food, some decide to stop a certain behavior or habit. One year I have fasted coffee. It was ugly.

But Lent isn’t about food, or fasting, or ashes. It’s all about preparing our hearts for the ultimate sacrifice – Jesus. The Christ. The Anointed One.

Matthew 16:16 – You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

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A local coffee shop has the phrase “Live Passionately” on their wall in great big calligraphy. They have incorporated that phrase into their logo and have it on their to-go cups. It is who they are.

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What a great statement to embrace! It is inspiring but also causes me to contemplate my choices. It encourages me to live with purpose, with intention, with passion for whatever I’ve chosen to do, whoever I’ve chosen to be.

Back in November, when I started thinking about this upcoming birthday (2 days away), I worried a bit about how a 60-year-old woman would be perceived. That one year change from 59 to 60 seemed like such a huge chasm. The difference between January 15 and January 16 was monumental in my own mind. But as I mulled over all the lessons I’ve learned in the last six decades, the ones passed on by my mom and dad, the ones learned through parenting and pastoring, the accidents & mistakes that turned into blessings in disguise, I’ve come to realize that my birthday means only one thing.

I’m just one day older. One day closer to becoming exactly who God designed me to be. One day more to choose well – to live as an influencer for the Kingdom of God…salt and light to a world that needs to see the love of Jesus in action. And it’s not how others perceive me that matters. I live for an audience of One – and I know I matter greatly to my heavenly Father. He doesn’t see me as a birthday…He sees me as a dearly and desperately loved daughter of the King.

When I see “live passionately,” I don’t think of my local coffee shop. I think about the life I have left – be it one day, one year, or until I’m 100. I think about living so the passionate love of Jesus shines from my passionately lived life.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

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I’ve been leading off the teaching time each Sunday this month by telling the Bible story prior to Don’s sermon. Our theme is “unlikely heroes.” Last week I told the story of Gideon, and today, the well-known account of David and Goliath. My goal is to make these stories interesting by delivering the information in a somewhat entertaining manner. In other words, keep my listeners from falling asleep.

Don’t you love a good story? Me too. I love to read stories, watch stories unfold, and listen to stories. The very best ones are the ones that are true.

Therefore, my tidbit of wisdom today is two-fold: listen to other people’s stories and begin to tell your own.

Everyone has a story. The young. The elderly. Your kids. Your grandparents. Your friends. Your coworkers. Even strangers. We all have a tale to tell. Some are humorous. Some are heartbreaking. Some are touching. Some are educational.

Just like multiple movie and book genres, there are also genres of real life narratives. Some have lived through heart-pounding adventure. Others soul-stirring romances. Maybe yours is a hilarious comedy. Listen and learn. Pay attention. Ask questions. Hear the stories living lives around you. Nothing can touch your soul like a good story.

And finally, tell your story. Give it a voice and theme, settings and characters, conflict and resolution. Be a storyteller. Others need to hear what you’ve been through, the lessons you’ve learned, the hope you can give on our shared life’s journey.

Jesus was a storyteller. He knew the greatest lessons learned are those told as stories. The prodigal son. The persistent widow. The lost sheep. So many stories giving us a glimpse into the kingdom of God – stories of heaven, healing, forgiveness, and restoration.

I love to tell the Story.

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Eating ice cream with Grandpa

All dads are major influences in the lives of their children, even the bad or absent ones. I was blessed with a wonderfully kind and gentle father, who loved me unconditionally and believed in my potential way more than I did. In honor of my dad, today’s blog is devoted to five tidbits of wisdom he handed down to his children.

  • Take care of the land.

My grandfather was a farmer, and my dad farmed with him until I was nine years old. We lived on a small acre plot of land adjacent to the main family farm, where my paternal grandparents lived. My dad loved farming, but when my grandpa passed away, my parents couldn’t afford to buy the farm, so Dad sold most of the farm equipment and started driving a semi-truck hauling grain and farm animals. But my dad always loved the land.

img_4309He spent hours in our wooded acres, cleaning up downed trees, and using the wood to heat our home. He loved those trees. My nephew recently found a video recording my dad made while walking through his beloved woods. To hear his voice again, poetically extolling the beauty and majesty of the massive oaks and elms…we were amazed at his eloquence. My dad was a quiet man, but his heart was huge. Listening to that recording revealed his passion for conservation.

  • Everyone needs some alone time.

This could easily be part 2 of the previous point. My dad was an introvert who loved people. And yes, that’s a thing. Dad enjoyed being around friends and family, but he needed to get outside or get alone for a while to re-charge. Dad drove tractors (alone), semis (alone), and lawnmowers (alone) so he could have his solitude. He told me often about having conversations with God, listening to the radio, observing nature, just soaking up the quiet without any competition for his attention. He could talk with anyone about many things, but he was most content when he could get outside, in his woods, alone.

  • Don’t cruise along in the left lane.

We just finished 12 hours of driving in the last two days. So many drivers have never learned this bit of wisdom that my dad drilled into me when I was learning to drive. People – the left lane is for passing.

  • Show up and work hard

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Though it looks as though Sean is miserable, this was a favorite activity: riding on the John Deere lawnmower with Grandpa.

My dad worked hard his whole life. He didn’t make much money, but when he left our house, he gave 100% to whatever needed to be done: field preparation, driving trucks, hauling grain or hogs or cattle, splitting and hauling wood, mowing lawn, planting and harvesting, etc. When he was an employee, his boss knew Bill would show up, no matter the weather or his health. My dad was more reliable than the U.S. Mail. And his kids learned that work ethic who have now passed it down to their kids.

  • Finish well

I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with my dad during the last few months of his life. He had been diagnosed with leukemia and I would travel to his house to sit with him to give my mom a little break from care giving. I loved listening to my dad tell stories about his young adult life. About how he first met my mom. How he thought she was the most amazing and beautiful girl he’d ever seen. He was a shy, quiet young man, but my mom flirted and joked with him and he was a goner. At least, that’s what he said. He also told stories of mistakes, regrets, errors in judgment. He was so sad about those things. My dad was not perfect. He made mistakes in his life and lived with some measure of guilt. If he were here, he would tell you the same thing. But the greatest decision he ever made was to ask Jesus to forgive him, to cleanse him and clear him of that shame and condemnation. From then on, my dad was a different man. Before his God-encounter, Dad had high expectations (for himself and his family) that were seldom met, but after he met Jesus, spent time allowing God to transform him, my dad became less judgmental, and more grace-filled. He experienced being set free from guilt. And those last few months of his life were marked with a love more profound that I had ever seen before. His love for my mom was deeper and richer. He took time to meet with the men he wanted as his pallbearers so they would know how much he loved and appreciated them during his life. He talked with me for hours about heaven, what he wanted us to do for my mom when he was gone, how much he loved me and my siblings…and how much he loved His Savior, Jesus. Those were precious times with my dad, priceless conversations I can still hear in my head. He taught me one final lesson – finish well.

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My mom and dad soon after their engagement. Mom was 17, Dad was 21.

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Merry Christmas!

I hope you are able to celebrate this wonderful holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus.

You may be surrounded by family or alone today. You may be suffering with sickness or watching someone you love going through the ravages of a disease. You may be sitting in the midst of a wrapping paper mountain or didn’t have enough money for even one gift.

Jesus is your answer. Rich or poor, Jesus came for all of us. Those surrounded by loving family & those homeless and destitute of love. Those suffering & those watching someone we love suffering. Those grieving. Those anxious & depressed. Those who have all money can buy, yet ache with loneliness and despair. Jesus loves you.

Allow Jesus to heal your heart today. Allow His perfect peace to flood your soul. He may not change every circumstance, but He’ll be with you in the midst of it. Call out to Him – He is there to meet you. He wants you at His birthday party!

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I love baseball and often use the game and its many strategies to help explain my take on life. For instance, a successful hitter in professional baseball hits .300. Any person who plays ball would love to be a 300-hitter. But that means they failed to hit the ball 70% of the time. When looking at success from the perspective of baseball, 30% is great!

I’ve found that perspective changes much of what I determine as a success or failure. There were many, many days I felt I was a failure as a wife, parent, friend, employee, leader…basically, anything I tried, any role I fulfilled. But, looking back, I think I succeeded more than I imagined at the time (not trying to get high-fives here) and I know I learned a great deal from my failures and shortcomings.

  • I learned to get back up. Falling short isn’t permanent, unless I want it to be.
  • I learned to take a step back. My perceived failure may be God’s way of helping me adjust my expectations.
  • I learned that my failure can be a learning tool to help me to my next success.

When I was a high school senior, my American History teacher gave me a failing grade on an essay assignment. I was devastated. I had never received a C, let alone an F, on any assignment in high school. Thankfully, he explained his reasoning and talked me out of a meltdown. He said, for this particular assignment, my writing was not up to par with my usual efforts. It seemed stale, boring, and without any credible research to back up my thesis. Furthermore, he said, I needed to step up my writing game if I wanted to be successful in my college classes…and he gave me another chance to do better. Which, I guess I did, since I got an A the second time around.

That particular failure (along with a wise teacher) served me well in college and in life. I learned not every failure is devastating, and most can be, and should be, tools to help me learn and grow and get better.

So I’ve learned to celebrate my failures – taking some time to evaluate, gain some perspective, and get back up to try again, or let it go.

I’m not perfect. Big surprise, huh? You’re not perfect either. Still not surprised? How about this – no one is or ever has been or ever will be perfect (except Jesus, ok?). Failure, falling short, is a natural part of life. Something everyone goes through more times than we’d like or care to admit. I may not be perfect, but I am forgiven. Jesus isn’t looking to use perfect people, just willing ones. And if He’s willing to love and use a failure like me, I need to cut myself some slack. It’s called grace. Give yourself some.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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