Saturday, 30 March 2013

This Easter Weekend: some thoughts about Jesus

Reading through the Bible is not for the faint of heart. This, a journey of a thousand miles in words no doubt. I think I've said this before. Yes, I'm pretty sure that I have. Then again, I do get to passages like this one in Isaiah 53 and I am reminded...again why I'm doing this. To know God. To know His heart. And to know what is exactly in the Bible though I might not understand every jot and tittle.

 Here are some of the parts of Isaiah 53 verses 5-7.

But He was [h]pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our [i]well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To [j]fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

Did you know that at the time of the writing of Isaiah that crucifixion had not even been "invented" yet? Did you know that the word excruciating means, "from the cross"? The cross was such a terrible experience that a word had to be made up to describe it.

And here verses 8 and 9: 
 
By oppression and judgement He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the [k]living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
 
You see there is no such thing as blind faith. If you look at the whole of Scripture, you will find a complete story from the very beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation and the whole of the text points to Jesus! Did you know that According to the Scriptures:
 
~ Isaiah 7:14 says that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 1:23)
 
~ Micah 5:2 states the the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 2:5-6)
 
~ A forerunner would prepare the way for the Messiah according to Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1. (fulfilled in John the Baptist Luke 2:3-6)
 
~ Isaiah also states in chapters 29:18-19 and 34:4-6 that the Messiah will heal the blind and do great Miracles. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 11:5)
 
~The Messiah will humbly present himself riding on a donkey in Zechariah 9:9. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 21:4-5 and John 12:15)
 
~Zechariah 11:12-13 says that the Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt.26:15, 27:9-10)
 
~ The Messiah would die for the sins of everyone is stated in 53: 5-9. (fulfilled in Jesus John 1:29, 1 Cor. 15:3)
 
~The Messiah would rise from the dead and not see decay stated in Psalm 16:10. (fulfilled in Jesus Acts 2: 31-32, 1 Cor. 15:4)
 
Scholars estimate that Jesus fulfilled about 300 Old Testament prophesies. The odds of a person fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies (as seen here by Jesus) that the mathematical probability of this is one in 10 to the 17th power. Now you all know I'm not so good at math, but that is a 10 with 17 zeros. That's a lot of zeros! The equivalent of this would be to fill the state of Texas with silver dollars, mark one of them with an X and then mix thoroughly. The odds of having a blindfolded man pick out the X marked silver dollar is the same as 10 to the 17th power. Jesus didn't just fufill a mere 8, he fulfilled hundreds of them and maybe this is why reading through the Old Testament has firmed up my faith.
 
Yes, there are things that I just don't understand culturally, or even things God has decided to do that I think seem unfair. But at the end of the day the question always is, what do I do with Jesus? Because if he is who he says he is...then that radically changes every. single. thing. in my entire life.
 
Which reminds me of one of CS Lewis' most famous quotes:
 
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
~from Mere Christianity
 
I encourage you, dear readers to look for yourself...to ponder...to question this Easter weekend. Who is this Jesus? Read through Isaiah 53. Read through a gospel book (Matt., Mark, Luke or John) and parallel what was said hundred years before. This is no blind faith!
 
Because there came a time in my life where the very nature of this question was scary because though I had grown up in a Christian family, I merely knew the answers to the most basic questions in my head.  What I didn't have was a changed heart. I didn't know why I thought I believed what I believed. And that is exactly what Jesus came here to do....die a bloody, wretched death on the cross so that we might know life, freedom, and joy in Him....so that he can change our hearts of stone....into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 26:36).
 
 
joy
life
faith
hope
grace
mercy
all
found in the
One
found on the
cross
found in
Him
who rose from the dead
on the third day
proving himself God.
 
Happy Easter, friends.
 
**A special thank you to Pastor Dwight Oswald at Southview Bible Church who basically let me plagiarise a tract that he made. Thank you for grace, Dwight!**
 
 

 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Washing Feet

 
 
John 13: 4-6
so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
 
 
 
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
 
And just let me tell you, this girl, she feels a little like Simon Peter when getting her feet washed. Prideful, then humbled to have someone you love dearly wash your stinky feet. For some reason it is easier to do the washing. I imagine Peter's feelings are magnified by a thousand.
 
 
And for us, it's like a fun game. A picture lesson to remember. Our feelings a mere flash in comparison to His and those he loved that night. All that he knew. The betrayal. The abandonment. And in spite of it all, he bends low and takes the form of the lowest servant.
 
 
And when this girl, she asks, "Whose feet will I wash?" Her momma looks her in the eye and says, "Your brother, Hunter." Her wide eyes tell it all and her mouth hangs open a bit. Because isn't it hard to wash the feet of those whom we have the hardest time...those who are the most different than us?
 
 
But that Hunter boy, he just smiles, like he was made to wash his sister's feet. He doesn't mind a bit. Maybe he's just a boy...maybe, though, it's special grace from him to her.
 
 
And the littlest, he gets a little help from sister. And this is all a little lost in our Western American culture because we drive cars and wear shoes (praise the Lord for shoes!). And still, there is something about bending low...about washing the feet of someone that you love....about serving them in this way, that helps one realise what Jesus was saying here in John:
 
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. - John 13:14-15
 
Jesus is saying serve one another, as I have served you. What a high, hard and holy calling friends!
 
 
 
**Want some great Easter activities to do with your kiddos like the one shown here today? Jessica over at Our Family for His Glory has put together a plethora of wonderful ideas. Go there and check it out!***
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 25 March 2013

What kind of Love is this?

There are these faint voices that echo with in the direction of my past. They whisper and taunt me to remember who I was. They pop up in dreams and implore me to reconsider who I really am now in light of who I was then. Oh, not to worry, these are not real voices, no I don't need to be locked away somewhere in a padded room. What I hear are merely the soft voices of faded memories I wish I did not have.

As I lie awake this morning not despairing, rather clinging to who I am now...right now in Christ...my mind tumbles around this idea of love and what kind of Love I'm putting my trust in.  What kind of love is true? Is this love any different than what I used to think it was when I was younger and had all the answers?

"I think people really find out what love is after they get married," I tell my Love a few weeks ago, near Valentine's day. He smiles and agrees and tells me that he does love me...now, right now.




So many times people think they fall out of love (as if it's something you fall into in the first place) after they become one and why is that?  I mean it seems so backwards. This thinking that we know what love is after we say, I do. All these swooping feelings wrapping us up daily with this person and we marry, becoming one, and something happens a few years down the rocky road and we think that since those feelings have changed that maybe....just maybe we fell out of it. Love, I mean. Wouldn't love get easier as time goes on?

And believe me, buying into this lie: that love is a feeling and it only feels good, it comes at a high price. Lets just say feelings are not a solid foundation for anything, much less a relationship that is to last a life time. Lets just say that building a solid foundation for anything must start with what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable...these things we are (in Phil. 4) instructed to "think" on...not to feel on. So much of my time is wasted still, thinking on things that are not true. Here is a good example of this from my own life. We will call it the:

"if my husband loved/respected me he would list"
 
~change the baby's diaper more
~wake up with me to feed the baby (as if I'm nursing he can do anything anyway, but look tired)
~do the dishes
~read my mind when I need something from him so I don't have to ask (this ones my very favorite)
~pick up his socks off the floor
~help with the dishes
~read with the kids out of the Bible more
etc.
etc.
etc.

And it could go on....and on. This list of things that at one time or another in my life would make me feel loved by the one I call Love. Oh, but hear me on this one friend would you?

Hear me when I say that my husband could do every. single. thing. right...he could do every. single. thing on that silly list and I would still have this ache inside my heart that would not feel loved.

 
 
Because, my dear readers, love is not something that we fall into and it certainly cannot be filled by another sinner (especially that one that lives with you day in and day out)...it is a gift to be given. And sometimes...sometimes gifts are not well taken care of. Oh, usually at first they are. Usually, they are precious in our eyes, those gifts are at first, but after a good amount of time, many times they just become very familiar.
 
And maybe that is why when Jesus went back home to Nazareth, back to where things were familiar, people just couldn't believe. I mean, this was Jesus. The carpenter's son. Jesus, Mary's son (and we all know what a scandal her pregnancy was right?) They were familiar with him. They didn't, they couldn't see the gift that he was.

And so it is with the love that we give...and give...and give again. It is precious. Then oddly it becomes routine and familiar and we believe that somehow because it doesn't feel the same that perhaps it really was not love in the first place. But I am here to tell you friends, that when you don't feel loving, when it is anger that you feel most of the time....when that mushy, gushy feeling is all but expired two years ago at least....then is your chance to know true love. It is your chance to show true love.

This love says:
 
~if I need help I will ask (even if I think the covenant of marriage magically makes you a mind reader)
~I will pray that my Love become the leader of our home and will diligently read the Word with our children
~realise that, yes, I am nursing so it is pointless to have 2 sloppy, tired adults in the home and napping is a girl's best friend 
~sees socks on the floor as a way to serve and rememeber (like yo momma always told ya) that if socks are my biggest problem, really I have none
~asks for help with things like the dishes, especially from those 4 not-so-little-anymore kids of ours

etc.
etc.
etc.

In every point, in every circumstance that Jesus was in he chose what was hard including and especially, the cross. I mean there are not a whole lot of people in my life that I could choose to die for. And yet, this God-man, he up and died for not only the ones who loved him, but those who vilified him most of all. When you know this kind of love, then you are able to give this kind of love. Perfectly? Never, not this side of heaven, at least. But imperfectly? Yes!

In light of the grand story of Easter and all that kind of love entails, I am reminded that my love is to be a mere reflection of His love. As imperfectly as my love is shown, I do realise that with out knowing His love, I am unable to give the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. 

And this task... it is hard. I do not mean to make light of it because it can be and is terribly hard for many. So as you think on these things this week, please remember what is true...to think on these things, and the feeling may follow. And even if they never do, friends this promise is still forever true: that the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4: 6-9). Amen and Amen!


Here's to naming more of these gracious gifts:

841. a love that never fails
842. a love that is always true
843. a love that always hopes
844. a love that always sees the best in others
845. a love that extends grace always, always
846. a love that overflows that ache in my heart that no man can ever fill
847. the one I call Love: and that great work that the Lord continues to do in his heart
848. and all the time he's been spending in the Word and sharing it with our 4
849. a friend who came twice in a week to help organise and pack and listen and share life with me
850. an unexpected, encouraging e-mail
851. a love that rose again...on the third day...conquering death!

And speaking of gifts....did you all get to see the Compassion gift results??!! Just click here and check it out. It really is pretty AHHHHmazing! I was blown away, truly I was....and excited to see all that was done in Jesus' name.

Oh and one more thing. How is your memorising going? Me? Meh. Which can be translated so-so. But I will continue to press on. Though I miss a week (or two), I will ask for the grace to memorise this week's verse. Will you press with me? This weeks verse, here friends, giving us even more truth to "think on" this week!




Friday, 22 March 2013

So Good: FridayFavs!

Learning to Garden.
Yes, we are excited!
 

With friends.
This is the best way, I think.
 

 
Getting our hands dirty.
Just a little anyway.
 
 
Starting small.
Very small.
This is good too.

 
And this guy.
Finally, all of us
well enough to celebrate his
big day.
 
 
 
With friends
and
a light sabor pull apart cake
some
special presants
and
all the rest of it.

 
So good.
 
 
 

friday favorite things | finding joy

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Honorable Counsellor


We named you Koen and prayed and hoped that you would grow into your name: honorable counsellor. Then you came into this world all screams and me all laughter kissing your Father thinking, "I can't believe I just did that!!!" Accidentally natural. Yes, it happens.

 And I thought soon after, that perhaps, we messed the whole thing up. Maybe the naysayers were right. Maybe we had the "perfect" family...one boy, one girl. Maybe three was too much for me. Maybe there was not enough love in this momma's heart. Maybe we were just too far from home.  You cried and I think I cried more... if that is even possible. And we lived through that whole messy year crying bold, round, drippy tears together in Germany. No family around. No true friends that very first year. Just the 5 of us: one. big. mess. Together.



Oh, and can I just say, son? That for every tear I cried, I have laughed out loud twice as hard. I smile just thinking of that girl those 5 short years ago and think, "Oh, you silly, silly girl!"  There will always be naysayers, but God is bigger, stronger, mightier...so we must look to Him...to His ways. They are always, always, always infinitely better.

It is quite possible that you are just the miracle that this family needed. Two kids into this thing and I thought maybe I knew something and you know what?! A mother always has something to learn and God? He is in the education business. He knew, he knows, just what we need and always gives accordingly. And yes, the very grace necessary at the very moment to deal with that which is given right along side the gift.



You, son are the very music of this family. A bright spot in this very dark world and may your life always point to the brightest spot of all. The One who showers us with goodness and mercy all the days of our lives. Yes, Jesus. May you know him in the most intimate of ways. To know the Honorable Counsellor is the only way to give honorable counsel.


Thank you Father for these gifts:

840. This fire and ice boy of ours named Koen, turned 5 today
841. Birthday lunch at Culvers. Yes, we tried to get him to broaden his horizons to no avail. ;)
842. 5 min. cake in a cup
843. my Love, asking me to read together
844. remembering Who I am in Christ, not a failure though some days feel that way
845. one boy, with his new red DS, SUPER wide eyed with excitement
846. thinking about children growing makes me sad, scared, excited....

And Friends, this weeks verse can be found here pointing us to the one, great Honorable Counsellor.


Friday, 8 March 2013

One. More. Time: FridayFavs!

So as you very well may know,
up in Yooperville,
it does A LOT of
this.
 
 
So we do things
like this.
 
 
Oh, yeah!

 
And doing these things
well, it means that
lunch may be a little late because
that darn tape just won't stick right
And
"Mom, I need your help!!!!"
And
though you think the 8 year old
should be able to do this alone
perhaps, he needs you to show him
one.
more.
time.
 
And alas,
most of us just need
one.
more.
time.
All the time
Like, daily.
 
And
Just so you know.
Sister kept "score."
And
made all the "rules."
Yes, she's good like that.
 
Love them.
All of them.
All the time
 
 
 

friday favorite things | finding joy

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Unfaithful

I'm doing it again.
That thing.
When I say I'm going to do something.
And then I don't.
I think it's called being...
unfaithful.
 
And well, that is something
that I
just don't want to be.
 
And so,
here I am.
Again.
Desiring to be faithful to
memorise God's Word.
 
Because really,
on every basic level
I.
Need.
To.
Just do it.
 
Just take the time.
And do it.
 
It takes time.
But so does checking my email.
And blogging.
And playing Words With Friends.
And watching Downton Abby.
And scrolling through Facebook.
And...
And...
And...
 
And none of these are bad things, really.
But if they are substituting
for what is really necessary.
For what is needed.
And not just wanted.
I will starve
spiritually speaking.
 
And how can I know the
the promises I'm rooted in.
The will of my Father.
The law of Love.
And of Liberty.
How can I know truly,
who He is
if I don't know His
unfailing Word?
 
 
And when will I desire the Word
more than I desire the fleetings
of this world?!
 
Thank you God for
Grace.
Grace, overflowing
and
long-suffering.
Grace.
 
God's
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense.
 
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~Phil 3:12-16
 
 
This weeks verse here, friends.
Join me if you will.
 
And this list keeps building, yes it does!
828. last Upward practise and squirmy, giggling girls
829. sleeping children
830. possibilities
831. looking forward to our move into "town" :)
832. tea with friends soon!
833. a friend's voice mail...always makes me smile...and a bit sad
834. the best is yet to be
835. toothpaste
836. a friend who teaches my kids art, and to garden. thank you!
837. Jordynn's hair is long and lovely
838. My Love snuggling up tight with a little love snoozing away while I plunk away
839. my step-dad, Ron who will be celebrating his b-day this very week. So. ThankFULL for him. :)
 

 
 



Friday, 1 March 2013

FridayFavs!

Dear Midwest friends and family,
I know you think you just got a lot of snow.
And comparing, well is usually over rated... a waste of time.
However, I wanted to just share this view out of our front door
so that you can indeed see that, "this to shall pass" and well,
the Popes will still be covered in snow.
 
 
So here amidst the Narniaish weather
at the Pope house we are getting creative.
Or trying our very best.
Which means a lot of copying.
Any good idea I have ever had, rest assured,
came from someone else much more brilliant than I.
Which, btw....those people aren't hard to come by.
 
 
And my dear not so little, Jordynn
is taking a photo collage class.
I thought these were some good catches
for her "color collage" project.
 
 


Nope didn't use PicMonkey on those.
She is beginning to really use the camera
and experiment with different angles etc.
Exciting!!
 
 
Happy Friday Friends!
May you find youselves in a padded room.
No, not that kind!
The one where building towers with huge foam
blocks and jumping off is always ok.


 
friday favorite things | finding joy