Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for February, 2013

Entering LIFE

Early last Wednesday morning, two men entered God’s presence about the same time.  One was Howard Hendricks, a talented and well-loved seminary professor who had served the Lord for decades.  The other was Don, my brother’s step-father-in-law who had joined God’s family less than two years ago.  Also about that same time, a pastor with his entire family was ambushed and killed here on the island where I live, and two Egyptian Coptic Christians were brutally murdered in the United States. All of these are now enjoying together all the delights of God’s presence and the LIFE that He’s prepared for them. 

Here’s an excellent article I read recently that puts heaven in a much different perspective than we have often thought.  Our present existence is the “pre-life,“ the prelude to the real thing which these people have now begun to enjoy.  http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/02/21/why-the-afterlife-bores-us/  I hope you read and enjoy it. 

As I try to grasp the thought that my beloved granddaughter may soon be there too, my heart both aches and rejoices for her.  Or maybe the ache is what I feel for myself, missing her already.  Maybe I’m a bit envious of the  beauty, joy, love, wholeness and perfection that she will be experiencing there. But I will be joining her sooner or later, and that is the confidence that I live for. Will you be there too?  I hope so.

Gifts Fit for a King

The other day my daily reading brought me to the “ho-hum” part of Exodus.  At least, that’s what I feared it would be—instructions about the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture, details of the priests’ wardrobe and that sort of thing.  So I asked God to give me new perspective on it.  Here’s what He showed me:

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh—we all know where these fit in the Bible, right?  Gifts brought to baby Jesus, acknowledging His Highness. 

What I didn’t realize before was that these three precious items also appear prominently in the Tabernacle that God instructed Moses to build. 

Gold—The cover of the Ark of the Covenant, where God would meet man, was made of solid gold.  In Jesus, God has come to mankind to be with us.  (Exodus 25:17-22)

Frankincense—This was a major ingredient of the special incense that was to be specially concocted and placed in front of the Ark of the Covenant.  (Exodus 30:37)

Myrrh—The major ingredient of the holy anointing oil applied to the Ark of the Covenant and other parts of the Tabernacle as well as the priests themselves.  (Exodus 30:23-33)

So what do you think?  Is it mere coincidence?  If not, what does this say about the meaning of the Tabernacle?  What does it say about Jesus as He came to earth?

Triumphant Travels

The Carnival Triumph was one non-triumphant ship.  But we are hearing amazing stories of how the passengers bonded together during their ordeal, how the crew stayed calm and served graciously under such difficult situations, and how some gathered for Bible studies during those dreary days.  How delightful to be reminded how God can turn tragedy into triumph for His own glory!

In my Bible reading I’m just up to the story (Acts 27) of another nautical nail-biter.  A ship full of people driven by a crazy storm for two weeks, so sick they couldn’t eat and despairing of ever seeing land again.  But God was there, too.  He assured Paul that he and all the other passengers would make it safely to land—and they did!

This same God is in my break-downs and storms as well as in the days of smooth sailing. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you—neither terrified by the tempest nor drifting complacently into dangerous waters.

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

The Word Spreads

Step by step, the beautiful plan of Acts 1:8 unfolds in sequence:  And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Some of the key players in the stages of this plan are featured in Acts 6-10.

Stephen (chapters 6-7) was originally selected for a food distribution program in Jerusalem.  But along with that, he made good use of his God-given wisdom and power for preaching and doing miracles.  As we know, he was falsely accused and killed by jealous religious leaders. 

Philip (chapter 8) was also chosen for that feeding program, but like Stephen, he couldn’t help but preach and do miracles to spread the Good News about Jesus, especially when persecution drove him out of Jerusalem.  God used him in the neighboring province of Samaria to bring crowds of people to faith in Christ and also to an Ethiopian convert to Judaism.

Saul (chapter 9), more commonly known by his Greek name Paul, was a sworn enemy of Christ and His followers.  But he was arrested by Jesus, was turned around 180 degrees, and called to service among Gentiles in “the ends of the earth.” 

Peter (chapter 10), though his primary ministry was to the Jews, was chosen to “midwife” the first real Gentile conversions—Cornelius and his household. 

And on went the Good News from there, reaching around the world, and still spreading. 

Aren’t God’s ways and Word amazing?  I’m so glad His plan includes me!

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Waiting and Working

Jesus’ disciples were bewildered and confused.  After all that their Messiah had gone through (including suffering and death which they certainly hadn’t expected), surely there need be no more delay for the long-awaited Kingdom that Jesus had been talking so much about–right?  (See Acts 1:3 & following.)

Finally they just had to ask outright:  “Are you going to set up the Kingdom now and be our King?” 

Jesus:  You’re not being copied on the details, but I have an assignment for you:  You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Then He takes off! 

Still bewildered, they gaze into the sky until He disappears from their sight and an angel assures them that Jesus will be back.  Still, though, they weren’t told when!

Why the delay?  As the disciples obeyed orders, God’s wonderful plan unfolded in a way they had never really understood before.  It was time for the world to hear and be included in God’s kingdom—including Gentiles like me!  (By the way, Judas couldn’t wait, accept, and obey.  When the Kingdom didn’t materialize on his schedule, he became disillusioned and—well, we know that story….)

Living with ambiguity isn’t easy for me.  I want to know what’s going to happen and when, and what my part is in it.  I have much to learn from these first believers:  waiting, trusting, obeying one step at a time.  Still, as I watch and wait and work on my “assignments,” my heart cry is… “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Cardiac Peacemakers

This morning we were reading the instructions and cautions about having an MRI.  One thing that must not be taking into the room is “cardiac peacemakers.”  (To be fair, they’d crossed out the extra e.)

Jesus is the “cardiac peacemaker”—the one who gives peace of heart!  As our family struggles with a number of health issues, we struggle to keep our eyes on the Lord with thankfulness and praise, rather than on the fears and what-ifs. 

Here are a couple of gems we read recently in the book “Jesus Calling”:

From Jan 7:  “When adversity strikes and you thank Me anyway, your trust in My sovereignty is a showpiece in invisible realms….”

From Jan 8:  “Hope in Me, and you will be protected from depression and self-pity.  Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven.  The more you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens; thus, you are lightened.  Heaviness is not of My kingdom.  Cling to hope, and My rays of light will reach you through the darkness.”

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Sitting in Darkness

This morning we were sitting in a hospital hallway, waiting to see a doctor in his office.  I was reading and my husband was doing a word puzzle, when suddenly someone turned on the light.  Wow!  We had no idea how dark it had been before. 

Do you suppose people “sitting in darkness” spiritually may be totally unaware of the light they’re missing?  Getting along okay, satisfied with their lives, oblivious to what richness, satisfaction and delight they’re missing?

I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.  John 10:10

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
     a light has shined.”  (Matthew 4:16)

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

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