Merry Christmas!


He is sufficient

Matt made a comment on this post about depending on God because he can’t do it on his own.

It made me think about my own merry-go-round ride of depending on God. Perhaps I should call it a tug-of-war. God isn’t tugging of course – it’s a one sided game and it’s all mine.

I gave lip service to depending on God for way too many years. I certainly knew He was dependable, but I was self-reliant and pretty self-sufficient. So much so at points in my life that I know I’ve put people off. And it’s not that I was so certain of myself, but rather that I had to prove myself. I had to depend on me because no one else was dependable.  Lots of reasons for that – won’t share those now – but proving myself was important to me.  Making me self sufficient was a necessity.

Then one day it happened – those events that occur that you have no control over – not an iota. They just happen. The freight train comes and it takes everything down in its path. You are stripped bare, every emotion is raw, it hurts to breathe. And there is only one thing that is sure and that is that God is sufficient. He alone is dependable. He is the creator who gives life and sustains.

At some point when the devastation begins to release its hold and you sleep with the knowledge that God cares as no one else can, you wonder why you didn’t totally submerge yourself in His love, His power, His understanding before. Why was it only lip service?

I’ll have you

I fell asleep watching Tuesday’s episode of LOST. Getting up as early as I do, staying up until 10 is difficult. I made it about half way through and lost my own battle to sleep. Thank goodness for hulu 😉

This episode was about Ben primarily. I don’t like Ben. I didn’t like him from the beginning when he was Henry Gale. Emerson is a great Ben btw! In the alternate universe where Ben and Locke cross paths in a high school, I saw a Ben that I might like, however. One that cares for people apart from his personal gain – still an exceptionally intelligent man. I also felt just a tad sorry for Ben on the island digging his own grave. Why? I kept asking myself. The guy is the original slime ball. Then the MIB appears and sets Ben free. Llana catches up with him as he escapes, and he has to tell her he’s going to the MIB. “Why,” she asks. “Because he’s the only one that will have me,” Ben confesses. Then a surprise. Llana, who intended to kill Ben, says, “I’ll have you.”

Well! That’s a ton of food for thought. I could wax philosophical about the Christian aspects. As a matter of fact, I did, and then I erased them because I didn’t want to trivialize Christ in any way. But still, the connection is difficult to ignore. “I’ll have you.”

I thought about odd relationships that arise because someone first said, you can join me – or an employer willing to give someone a chance where chance had previously been withheld. A wounded spirit, a broken heart, an old meany. “I’ll have you.” Amazing words.

The Shepherds and the Angels

Luke 2

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


My Heart is Not Broken Any More

It’s Christmas Eve. Hallelujah! Time to focus on Jesus. Like every single day. No day is time to focus on me, but I had been. My heart was broken. The day that letter came and I had to come face to face with what my relationship with my parents really was and always had been.

God had been preparing me for that day for so long. First He sought me out and saved me. Then He gave me Ron to nurture me and help me know that people were honorable and faithful. Then slowly He helped me come face to face with my damage so that I was able to look the inevitable squarely in the eye – so that it wouldn’t completely devastate me when I did.

What I realized in all of this is that God sustains. He allows you to get up in the morning and do your job no matter how crushing your insides feel. He allows you to put one foot in front of the other and walk from one place to the other. He allows you to smile and meet people even when you cry yourself to sleep at night. God is sufficient through all things even when your heart is broken.

This fall old passions began to return. I wanted to pull out crafting materials that had lain dormant and gotten dusty, I started to write again – not for lessons or web sites or school, but for me, to express myself as I’d not in ages. I got mad over injustices at school. I . . . well I’m doing all kinds of things that I haven’t done in ages.

I’m not brokenhearted any more.

The Gift

We went to Texas for the weekend to see Brandon. Whirlwind trip. He starred in Southcliff’s Christmas program.

(Slide show of pictures – WordPress doesn’t support flash apparently. I’m sorry for their lack of uniformity.)

Divorced dad. Co-worker gives him a DVD of the Christmas program. Nothing good on TV so he watches it. In the meantime, he finds out that his children won’t be coming home for Christmas. He thinks of Christmases past – better Christmases. He realizes he needs more, that he needs Jesus, and calls his co-worker to talk.

On a reflective note, my son is grown. He has finished seminary. He has waited patiently on a ministerial role. In this performance, he played not only a man, but a mature one at that. I realized watching him in this role how much I miss him – seeing him on a regular basis. He is a fine actor. He will be a fine youth minister.

Glorious Jesus!

Piper’s latest sermon arrived in my email box. He’s preaching through John. These are the titles for Jesus in just John 1:

  1. The Word. Verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word.”
  2. God. Verse 1: “And the Word was God.”
  3. Light. Verse 9: “The true light . . . was coming into the world.”
  4. Jesus Christ. Verse 17: “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
  5. Lamb of God. Verse 29: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
  6. Rabbi. Verse 38: “And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), where are you staying?”
  7. Messiah. Verse 41: “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).”
  8. Son of God. Verse 49: “You are the Son of God!”
  9. King of Israel. Verse 49: “You are the King of Israel!”
  10. Son of Man. Verse 51: “You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Those have a new meaning to me since I’ve worked through them now as a teacher and because we spent quite a bit of time with those in Bible.

Last section of sermon:

God’s Greatest Glory: Dying for Sinners

So you could say that the greatest glory Nathanael, or you and I, would ever see is the glory of the Son of Man, the Lord of heaven, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, lifted up on a cross to die for sinners.

So when you see him this Advent season as Son of God, and as King of Israel, and as Son of Man, make sure that you see him dying to give you eternal life and, therefore, see him as glorious.

-John Piper

Glorious Savior! Who am I that you looked on me? That you care for me, that you died for me? Oh Glorious Savior!