WORD – Part 3: Give Danergously

Giving … and Dangerous is an unlikely pairing in the usual sense of phraseology, but not according to my pastor, Emmanuel Haqq.  His WORD to us on the January 2017 New Year Day sermon was: Give; Give Dangerously.  Said another way, give til it hurts – give sacrificially.

This is a perfect segway to the “I” in my WORD : LIFE.

“I” …is for I; me, my, mine, myself.

GET RID OF IT.

Sacrifice the  I; me, my, mine, myself desire for the sake of others, and give…give…give!

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must

deny themselves and take up their cross

and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Friends,

we have established the “L”  of LIFE is Love; demonstrated by our figurative whipping boy who died for us!

You are loved, and are to be love to others.

 Being Love means giving up the “I.”

Denying the “I” is what it’s all about, it’s what Jesus did on the cross and it is how we follow Him into giving dangerously.

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Give time, energy, resource… stuff of the need and stuff of the delight.

Give when you are feeling it, give when you are not….Give when you are tired and weak and weary…and you will be filled.

That is not a typo.

You will be filled.

 The more sacrifice in the giving, the more filling in your life. Yes, giving dangerously gives us that life that John 10:10b speaks of:

“I have come that they may have life,

and have it to the full.” 

LIFE.

 Life to the full is being loved, and being love to others, and giving dangerously in the place of sacrifice.

Next time…the “F” word…..

P.S. Be encouraged to be a giver — recommended reading: The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn

WORD – Part 2: The Ultimate Whipping Boy

 

I have the ultimate whipping boy.

Do you have a whipping boy?

Do you know what one is?

It is one who takes the whipping punishment for another, as is poignantly shown in the children’s classic story The Whipping Boy.  All childish things aside… figuratively speaking, I am not lying, I do have the ultimate whipping boy, and so do you; He took a whipping and a beating and he submitted even to death for me…and for you.

WHY did He do that?

I will explain by giving meaning to the “L” in the WORD: LIFE…

L = LOVE.

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But God demonstrates his own love for us

in this: While we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Friend, do you know you are loved that much?

The first step in having that “life to the full” is acknowledging that you are loved so very much, that Christ died for you.

Friend, YOU are LOVED.

Do you feel it?  Do you know it?  Will you accept it?

When you accept His love – there is but one thing for you to do: LOVE OTHERS in the same way as Christ loves you.

L = LOVE.

When it’s neat and easy – love.  When it’s messy and difficult – love.

When the gifts are used or exchanged and decorations packed up for another year to wait in the attic… when

winter cold is set in and we move on with the routine of the days.

Remember, L = LOVE in LIFE.

Being loved, and being love, fills your life to the full!

 

WORD – Part 1: The One Reason the Baby Came

December 25th has come and gone, again; focus was: the baby in the manger.

January 6th, the last day of the traditional season of Epiphany has passed, again; focus was: the wise men visiting that baby.

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Holidays concluded.

Gifts are used or exchanged and decorations packed up for another year to wait in the attic.

Winter cold is set in and we move on with the routine of the days.

But do we remember the WHY of it all?

The ONE reason the baby came?

“I have come that they may have life,

and have it to the full.” John 10:10b NIV

Rather than a resolution, it seems to be the trend to choose a WORD for the New Year…my WORD?

LIFE.

Jesus says: He came.

He came to earth as that baby in the manger. He grew and became a man and loved on people, as it is recorded throughout pages and pages of the Bible.  He was mocked and beaten and pierced and hung on a cross to die. He was wrapped and buried and put in a tomb. He broke out of that tomb and showed himself to many and then rose up into the clouds to be with the father in heaven, where he is alive and waits for the Father to tell him to come back and get His people..

 Most of my readers know this.

But why did He do it?

Jesus says: so, “that they may have life.”

LIFE.

Yeh? So? We, are the they, and we all have life right?  We are breathing aren’t we? Basic of all basic, I guess that is so…yet, there is more.

“and have it to the full.”

or in other translations:

“to give them a rich and satisfying life.” NLT

“and have it abundantly.” NASB

…what does this mean?

It means that Jesus did all He did so that we could have a FULL life with purpose and have life eternally.

THAT is the one reason the baby came.

Do you have life to the full?

Read and follow my posts in the days to come and I will share how we can have this LIFE to the full.

Merry Christmas

I have not sent out any cards yet. This is the first one – the first MERRY CHRISTMAS written this year. Recall the famously known prophecy, even Charlie Brown’s Linus recited it: ”…

Source: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

I have not sent out any cards yet.

This is the first one – the first MERRY CHRISTMAS written this year.

Recall the famously known prophecy, even Charlie Brown’s Linus recited it: ” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

For “to us”…. repeated twice. Us, meaning all – everyone – no one left out!

To all of us, a child, a son, is given. 

THIS is the MERRY CHRISTMAS: baby Jesus born in the manger – deity, God, made human – for to us.

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Not for the idyllic creche decorations to don the mantels…

Not for the theme of Sunday school plays so the girls can be angels and the boys can play shepherds with cotton beards…

But, for to us, with a purpose: “and the government will be upon his shoulders.”  

What?

Picture this: our government, the United States government, and every other world nation government stacked up on the shoulders of this Jesus like Atlas carrying the world….the image that He holds it all, He carries it all…. BUT – unlike Atlas, Jesus…. He rules over it all.  The prophecy from Isaiah points to a time when the full purpose of Jesus is revealed and His government rules over all governments.

Fast forward to another famously known verse, the one that people raise up in the football stands: John 3:16 — “he gave his one and only son” – the verb, gave, is the action and points to the cross where Jesus died. Just like the story, If you give a Mouse a Cookie, one thing leads to the next.  Jesus died, so that he could be buried, so that he could rise from the dead, so that he could appear to many – alive, so that he could ascend to the heavens and sit at the right hand of the father, God, so that he could await for his return to the earth and save his people,

so that finally – HIS pure government will rulethere will be no other governments left.

But for now… He rules from heaven and nothing on earth happens unless power is given it by God – the government is on His shoulders, and He rules even now, over it all.

Jesus is Wonderful — because He does great things with love…

Jesus is Counselor — because he guides and directs even those who do not know Him because He is sovereign and in charge of it all…

Jesus is Mighty God — because there is no one who holds more power…

Jesus is Everlasting Father — because He and the Father are one, always existing, timeless, having no end…

Jesus is Prince of Peace — because he came to earth as a baby, died as a man, and defeated death as a King, all for the purpose of offering us PEACE in a place where there will be no more tears, just peace, forever.

Jesus in the manger, came for everyone!

Jesus on the cross, died for everyone!

Jesus in heaven, loves everyone!

Merry Christmas to you all – everyone who breathes air on this earth!

Borrowing the words of Charles Dickens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSyx6DaUwxA

I am Who I am, Now

First, Big Bang shock. Second, 4 Anchors and a Plan. Next, Towdah. Now what? Seemingly, it should end there with a heart of thanksgiving. But, Before it all, I was me – secure, confident, and…

Source: I am Who I am, Now

I am Who I am, Now

First, Big Bang shock.

Second, 4 Anchors and a Plan.

Next, Towdah.

Now what?

Seemingly, it should end there with a heart of thanksgiving.

But,

Before it all, I was me – secure, confident, and in control.

Did you feel the same?

During the trial of cancer, I was the sick one, the weak one, the one wondering if she would still live.  Everything was happening to me

…and I could not stop any of it!  Humiliation stripped me of dignity; I felt like an abandoned shell on the sandy shore;

Where did I go?

Do you know what I am saying?

After all the painful surgeries, the horrible treatments and their side effects, I stood still…wondering,

Who am I now?

Altered in body, altered in mind, altered in spirit,…some.  There is loss and grief to deal with; my life is not the same as “Before” nor will it ever be.

You cannot expect to go back to life exactly as it was before the Big Bang event that changed your life in an instant!

I wish I knew that.  But I didn’t. And it took a fair length of time to both realize and acknowledge the fact.

Suffering took on the name: identity crisis.  I did not fit into my old life – it was not like falling off a bicycle and getting back on again.  My tires were flat, the chain was rusty, I think I needed some training wheels!  It took time to learn how to balance and steer and maneuver the corners.

My 5 year clean Anniversary, came and went; a chapter of my life has closed and I am who I am, now.

Currently,

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I am being renewed from the inside out, I am learning how to see more clearly, and be, what I was all along:

a child of the Father;

loved.

You are too you know.  You are a child of the Father and you are loved!

 

 

What is it that Fills your Darkness?

Accept support.  Stick to the plan.  Stay vulnerable.  Trust God.

BUT

Even still…Darkness seeps in like fog curling and swirling, pushed by the wind, wrapping it’s tendrils around the anchors yanking them up and out. Doubt, and fear, and tangible offenses like nausea, burns, nosebleeds, and pain of various origins fills my darkness.

What is it that fills your darkness?

As the seeping continues, I find I have to make a decision. Do I focus on the darkness or do I focus on the light?  Poor-little-old-me parties tauntingly invite me to focus on the darkness and curse it.  Yet, the light offers me rest, healing, and peace through thankfulness.

Friend, it’s all about attitude.

“I realized that the way to attaining joy and rejoicing in my sufferings was to have a heart of thanksgiving.  Through the offering, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, I entered into relationship with God Himself.” (p. 92 Towdah)

Thank God for all He has done and will do for you, even before you see or experience it; trust Him for it all.  That is “Towdah!”

“On May 22, 2011, I sat still and thanked God for my cancer.” (p 93 Towdah)

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How could I do that you might ask?

By keeping my eyes on Jesus and seeing Him in all the glory that He is;

He sacrificed His life for mine and He lives, now, to assure me, carry me, and offer me salvation fully.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Friend, THANK the LORD through the trial – no matter what trial it is that has you undone.

“…he who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50: 23

Thank God for it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly…and you will be renewed.  You will be shown salvation in the fullest sense!

What is it that fills your darkness?

Turn. Instead, fill it with Thanksgiving and you will unfurl those dark tendrils and

You will be IN the light!

4 Anchors for a Tiny Sailboat

This is where I left you last Thursday, promising to give you an answer…

“What is fair anyway?”

Truth be told – the answer is: N O T H I N G.

“Life isn’t fair – get use to it.”

Don’t you hear your mother’s voice echoing in your head, as I do?

Someone will always get the bigger cookie first, the longest turn on the swing, the better card in the game.

Yet,

when we get the biggest cookie, the longest turn on the swing, or the winning card in the game – — do we still exclaim, “It’s not fair?”

Of course not.

Suddenly the path of the exclamation goes from “Why me?” to “Why not me!

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Why did I have to get cancer? I do not know…but, why not me?  I am not above the perils of this world.

Four anchors held me as my life, like a tiny sailboat, tossed violently in the stormy sea of a dark trial. 

One: Accept Support.

Hand in hand, we opened the door and stepped out into the brazen sunlight, neither knowing what lay ahead.” (p. 6 Towdah)

Do you have support? Do not try to go it alone.  Call on your closest loves in life and let them hold your hand.  My aunt, who battled against cancer for nearly 12 years, told me, “No matter what, always let people help you, for if you deny them the opportunity, you squash the Spirit working in them and you lose out on a blessing.”

Two:  Stick to the Plan.

With a battle, there is a plan – always.  And once a plan is in place, everything seems doable.  Stick to it and fight with everything you’ve got!

Medically: follow through with the treatment plan.

Spiritually: pray; “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;”

Three: Stay Vulnerable

“Without words, I drew close…Tears once again began to flow…Emotions gave way with an ever so gentle explosion of sighs and tears.”(p.34 Towdah)

Keep it real my friend. Embrace your humanness.

Four: Trust God.

There is a choice to make.  You can be swallowed up by fear or you can be cradled by trust. Seems a no-brainer to choose trust – I mean, who wants to be swallowed up! The next question then, is who do  you trust?  Entering the unknown territory of this trial, I put my trust in God as Joshua did.  Cancer, disease, sudden loss bring unknown territory and it is scary.

“Like a child, holding the father’s hand, I couldn’t bear it anymore and I turned with anxious asking, ‘Pick me up Daddy! I’m scared.’ ” (p. 30 Towdah)

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Accept support.  Stick to the plan.  Stay vulnerable.  Trust God.

 

 

Two responses to the Big Bang

Ever experienced the BIG BANG in your life?

You know, the explosion of events that takes you totally by surprise – the kind of thing that changes your life in an instant and threatens the comfort of everything held to the routine of daily living?

For me, it was the pronouncement in a doctor’s office that I had cancer.  For you, maybe the same — or something different — an accident, a sudden death, another kind of disease…?  No matter which BIG BANG changed your life in an instant, I believe we all go through similar universal stages of experience.

The first stage I experienced seemed to have 2 steps.

First: SHOCK.

The kind that makes your jaw drop, renders you speechless, and causes you to drop what you are holding, or fall back against a wall, or collapse all together.

“I couldn’t even be sure if I was still breathing. In fact, I am sure I was not. I was frozen – suspended as if above all concept of time.”  (Towdah p. 5)

That was my initial response. And it is a normal first reaction for all of us.

Second: INDIGNATION.

That’s a big word for – IT IS NOT FAIR!

“…heaving great spasmodic breaths, gasping for air in my voiceless cries….I was weeping and gnashing my teeth as I drooled and bit my pillowcase in the silent darkness of the night, when no one else was awake.” (Towdah p 13)

And I wailed, Why me LORD? Why Me!

I mean – really?  Who ever expects to have the Big Bang explode on them! Right?

It isn’t fair.  OR ….is it?

What is fair anyway?

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Yes, shock and indignation are quite normal human responses because we are forgetful.  We forget that we are not in control; God is.  We live our lives planning the next day and the next day to be as we want, assuming nothing will go awry, prideful because we believe we are in charge.  That is why we are caught unaware when the Big Bang explodes in our face.  Yes, we forget that God is bigger than any Bang – big or small; that God is in charge.  He knows all and still loves us; He always has.

Friend, are you experiencing shock or indignation, crying out that it is not fair in reaction to something in your life right now?

Take comfort and know, that Jesus loves you right now and He will keep loving you right through this difficulty.

I know.

I have been there.

Follow me to my next post and I will answer that question, “What is fair anyway?”