Saturday, February 20, 2010

Are We Ready?

...the virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Matt 25:10b

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! "For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7

The photo above is of Kayla on her way out to meet Andrew before the wedding for photos.

It was about a year ago that we started planning for their wedding. Every time I browse the photos, I marvel at all that we accomplished in those 8 months and what life was like as we got ready. It was full, and busy, sometimes a little crazy, and now I can tell you...especially rewarding!

Looking back, I wonder how? How did we do that? When Kayla first told us she wanted to get married outside on our farm, we said, "No way!" I didn't think we could pull it off. It might be too stressful... But as we researched, and talked with others who had done it, we decided it was what we should do. Here are the things that come to mind:

  • Plan: We started with a lunch date to cast vision and began making lists of what we wanted to accomplish.
  • Focus: I had to focus on the big day. In doing so, I could prioritize what was on my "to do" list each day.
  • Vision: We had a vision of what "the day" would look like.
  • Prioritize: When there are so many things to do, knowing what to set aside in light of the goal is essential.
  • Diligence with Rest: There were days when I just couldn't "go to it" as I should, but after taking a little break, I would determine to get back on task.
  • Saying No: There were numerous things that beckoned us, expecially in the summer, but we had to say "no" to in order to stay on task.
  • Prayer: Since our day was outside, we needed it to be a nice one. Daily prayer as I worked in the yard, and made lists helped me not to fear, and to be able to leave the day in God's hands. Anxiety would have bogged down my journey.
  • Keeping Track: Continually reviewing how things were going helped us to know if we needed to change something, call someone, or cancel something.
How similar our journey is as we get ready for our future banquet as the Bride of Christ!

It brings me to ask the question,"How are our preparations going?"

Do we have a plan? A focus? A vision? How are our priorities? Are we diligent in our pursuit of purity?
Are we resting in the finished work of Christ as we walk toward our destination? Are we saying "no" to the sin that entangles and distracts? Denying ourself temporary pleasures? Are we meeting Jesus daily and keeping short accounts with Him?

Lord Jesus, your word says you are coming for a Pure Bride (click here for song) who has made herself ready. Help us to keep our focus on eternity and not on our comfort or pleasure in this life. Lord, you say if we love you we obey your commands...Help us love you with our obedience. Where we are wandering and straying from your path for us, bring us back. Help us to desire You above everything. Thank you that you are so Beautiful and Worthy of our devotion and praise. How we long to be in Your Presence!!
Are you ready? Are you filled with anitcipation?
I have to admit, sometimes I forget...that we are headed toward

Monday, February 8, 2010

God As A Two-Sided Cloud?

Before I began blogging, the Lord had given me a keen awareness of how contrast enhances life experiences and truth (and so many other things!)...All throughout scripture we notice God using contrasts to teach or instruct or to guide...contrasts between good and evil, light and dark, night and day, holy and common, flesh and spirit...

After reading the account of Israel being delivered from Egypt through the Red Sea, I found myself meditating on the Cloud. The Cloud lead them to the Sea, lead them into the Sea, and then when they were half way through, it circled around behind them and became a divider between Israel and her salvation, and the Egypt and it's doom.

The cloud was light on one side, giving light to Israel so they could see and move forward into their freedom. The cloud was dark on the otherside, hindering the sight of Egypt, confusing them and eventually drowning them in the sea.

On the one side of the cloud was the Merciful One rescuing Israel from bondage. On the other side was Egypt being judged by the Just One.

Have you perceived the darkness surrounding us? Our culture embraces things that God forbids and despises. He hates disobedience, rebellion, and pride. Yet these things are not only tolerated, they are celebrated...

But what is so beautiful in the midst of the darkness is the LIGHT!!! As darkness accumulates, those who are walking in the Light shine brighter. In our obedience, submission and humility, the Light of Jesus is more noticable because of the contrast. Let us who are in Christ, His chosen ones, be ever mindful to walk in the Light to make God known to those who are lost in darkness.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth), and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret, But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. Ephesians 5:8-14 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gripped by Love

2 Corinthians 5:14a
For the love of Christ constraineth us. KJV
For Christ's love compells us. NIV
For the love of Christ controlls us. NASB

My Utmost for His Highest available on "Paul says he is gripped by the love of God, that is why he acts as he does. Men may call him mad or sober, but he does not care; there is only one thing he is living for, and that is to persuade men of the judgment seat of God, and of the love of Christ. This abandon to the love of Christ is the one thing that bears fruit in the life, and it will always leave the impression of the holiness and of the power of God, never of our personal holiness."

The Love of God...who can understand or fathom it? And yet, as we walk with Him, and talk with Him...we progressively experience more, see more, and understand more.The nearer we get to Jesus, the more clear He becomes.

Greater becomes the grip of the love of God on our hearts.
If by the Spirit, we put to death the misdeeds of the body, we will live...The Spirit is the love of God.
To be gripped by His love means everything else ceases. We will cease striving, cease looking at our life to see if we measure up to anything. Our life will be lost in His love. It will cease to exist. It wont be work to offer our bodies as living sacrifices and deny ourselves (Romans 12:1,2); instead it will be our delight, a response to His compelling love.

I have found His love most compelling in His forgiveness. Every time I fall flat on my face, every time I struggle with guilt or condemnation...I make my way back to the cross and see there His passion to restore me, to give me grace, to pick me back up, lift up my head...

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Matthew 5:3

Knowing that I am pitiful without Him, and yet He has given me His exceedingly great mercy, I am compelled by His love. Some things have to come with time...the longer I journey with Him here, the more I understand my need for Him, and the more I am gripped by His love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Want to be Blessed?

I often sign my comments or my emails with "Blessings!"
Part of my blog title is "Blessed". I pronounce it "bless-ed" rather than "blest" *that is just fyi*
I was noticing tonight in Luke's version of the sermon on the mount (chapter 6) the "blessings" pronounced by Jesus.

Have you ever looked at it like this?
Blessed are you...
  • who are poor...
  • who hunger now...
  • who weep now...
  • when men hate you...
  • when they exclude you...
  • when they insult you...
  • when they reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.
Jesus says, "For you will receive the kingdom of God, you will be satisfied, you will laugh...rejoice in that day and leap for joy because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets."

Then He says,
Woe to you...
  • who are rich...
  • who are well fed now...
  • who laugh now...
  • when men speak well of you now...
"You have already received your comfort, you will go hungry, you will mourn and weep...and if you are praised by man now... that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

It reminds me of the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11...Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets..."Instead they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:16

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17

It is a simple decision...take our good things in this life...or in the next. Live our life for ourself here...or for Jesus' Eternal Kingdom.

Still want to be blessed? We cannot  fathom what awaits us in the Eternal Glorious Kingdom, but we know it is worth receiving the blessings we get here!

Hold fast! Look up! Keep going! Stand firm!