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Rose colored glasses

More than a few times in my life I have been accused of viewing the world through rose colored glasses. Per eHow search:  most research done on this phrase dates it back to the 1850’s, from a novel by Thomas Hughes in which a character is said to have viewed a university through “rose-coloured spectacles”.  The Free Dictionary states that it means “being cheerful to an excessive degree, very optimistic about the world; blocking out negative things and seeing only positive.”

Quite honestly, I don’t see the “down” side of having this perspective!

Choosing to look at the bright side doesn’t mean ignorance of the dark.  It means believing that in spite of the dark, there still IS a bright side.  It’s hope.

Hope:  The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

The world says “don’t get your hopes up” out of fear of disappointment.  But hope can only disappoint if it is misplaced.  Our hope is supposed to be in God and the bible says that hope in Him NEVER disappoints!!  Romans 5:5

The apostle Paul instructs us to “set our minds on the things above”  (Colossians 3:2), and to “not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer with thanksgiving, make your wants known to God….”.  He goes on to say “think on these things: whatever is true, honest, just,pure, lovely, of good report, any virtue, any praise…” (Philippians 4:6, 8)  God wants us to get a new perspective, a new view.  He wants our minds filled with good because our hope is in Him in every circumstance, and He is good.

Reading those scriptures is a good reminder to adjust our view of world issues and the bigger problems around us.  But what about people?  How do we get the right view of those who just get on our nerves?

1 Corinthians 13:7 says “Love…is ever ready to believe the best of every person…”  EVERY person.

God has lavished His love on us.  Through Jesus, God looks at us and sees only good.  He chose to love us and pour out His love into our hearts.  We are to be vessels filled with only Him, His love overflowing to EVERY person we see.  We have no right to withhold it!  We choose to look for the best in everyone and everything, because of Him, because of His love.

I don’t know about you, but I rather like my shades.   🙂

Christian, Faith, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Love who???

Many years ago as a young woman in a church that was amazingly alive and hungry for God, I heard a sermon about “ministering to others”.  I had been attending for a while, learning and growing with much enthusiasm.  I wanted to be zealous for God!  I wanted to be used!  This particular sermon stirred me so, that I can remember this day quite clearly.

Service over, lunch consumed, I take my bible and sit outside in a lawn chair, wanting to hear God.  I read and pray and I just know that God has someone I can minister to, that He actually wants to use me.  I envision another young mother like myself that would come over for coffee and we would have bible study in my home, we would pray together and see miracles happen!  Our children could play together while we studied, it would be lovely!

The day progresses with the regular responsibilities of a life with small children, and finally winds down with them tucked away in bed, and me ready to do the same.  It’s a very cold night and our little mobile home was quite chilly.  I was ready for the warmth of the blankets and the dreams of my “ministry” opportunity.

I hear a knock at the door.  Who could be here at this time of night?  As soon as I open the door, God says “Here she is!”.  I spoke to her, she asked me a question, I said “wait here”, and I shut the door.  I left her out on the steps.  In the cold.  I quickly ran to my room for an emergency chat with God!

“Surely, God, you don’t mean her?”

“Yes”

“But God, you know what she’s done, you know how she is, you know how I feel about her!”

“This is the one I want you to minister to.”

“But I can’t, I just can’t…..”

“Didn’t you ask Me for someone who needed Me?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Someone that you could truly pour My love on?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“She needs Me more than you can imagine.  Will you obey?”

“Yes, Lord.”

I rush back to the door, humbled and ashamed, and ask her in.  We talk for a few minutes and I discover that she has walked several miles in the cold to reach our house.  We make arrangements for her to get to her family.  But I know.  God has spoken.  He has opened my eyes to see a need in her that I had never seen before, and this is my turn to reach out.  My turn to give grace.  My turn to show mercy.  My turn to bestow undeserved favor.  My turn to love.  Really love, expecting nothing in return.

It wasn’t easy for either of us!  It was a relationship that required a great deal of time and effort, and produced a multitude of smiles and tears along the way.  It didn’t turn out to be a lifelong friendship as I had hoped, but God taught me so much about loving the unlovely at that time.  (He also revealed to me very quickly that I had been the unlovely one when I left her standing in the cold!)

1 John 2:9-10 says “Whoever says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother (Christian, born-again child of God his Father) is in darkness even until now.  Whoever loves his brother believer abides in the Light, and in It there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.”

This young woman was a believer.  She believed that Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God, and had asked Him into her life before I ever met her.  Her life was messy and to bring her into my life meant messing up my life a bit as well.  Not with sin, but it would mess up my plans, my ideas of how my life should be.  So I had to choose:  life in darkness or walk in the Light.  I chose Light.  It was a good choice.  I made a lot of mistakes in learning how to “minister”, but I did a lot of things just as He wanted.  I have no regrets.

So, next time the person who’s “messy”, or the ones of a different color, different denomination, different look show up at our door, what will we choose?  They’ve probably been knocking for a while and we haven’t heard.  Many times the door they’re knocking on is at the front of our church.  Often, it’s just the door of our lives.  Jesus came knocking and we let Him in.  “And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these My brethren, you did it for Me.”  Matthew 25:40

As I mentioned, it didn’t turn out like I expected.  I know He has not forgotten her, although our lives parted.  I still pray for her. I’ve turned it all over to Him – it was His idea anyways!!

Christian, Faith, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Queen for a day

Yesterday I was a Queen.  IMG_0322_edited-1

“Oh, Sweet Princess?”  “Yes, Your Majesty?”

“Would you like to slice the royal bananas?”  “Oh yes, Your Majesty!  Where do I put them?”  “In the royal ziploc, Princess.”

“Your Majesty, how shall I reward the good heart?”  “Princess, what about a jewel?”  “OH YES, Your Majesty!”

What fun!  We make construction paper hearts with wiggley eyes, and scepters that sparkled.  We laugh and wave our scepters with all the grace that is expected of royalty.  The best part for the Queen is watching the Princess, knowing that this little heart has no fear in the presence of the Queen.  Even when the Queen needs to correct, it is borne of love and easy to bear.  So this Princess is completely herself, innocent, loving, and has no doubt that she is eternally loved by the Queen.  She knows.

Even with my qualms about what princess movies suggest to our little girls, I can use these times to teach this precious one about the real King.  To lay the foundation now before the world has a chance to bring doubt, that she is the daughter of the King of kings, eternally loved, free to be herself.

And I wonder, how many of us have forgotten that we are children of royalty?  That God Almighty has chosen us for His own, adopted us, made us His heir and seated us next to Him on His throne.  The best part for Him is when He sees us before Him with no fear.  Understanding that if He corrects, it’s borne of love and easy to bear.   He delights when we are completely ourselves in His presence because we’ve taken the innocence He’s purchased for us, and we have no doubt that we are eternally loved by our King. Because we know.

The joy of yesterday’s moments linger into today, and my Father the King whispers to me…..do you know?

Christian, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Taste and see

A couple of years ago I radically changed my diet.  I bought a book, formed my new grocery list (including some items I’d never even heard of before), and headed shopping.  Once at the store I am diligently examining every label, comparing sodium content between brands, looking for those hidden ingredients and pesky chemicals.  THREE HOURS later I am at the checkout.

Now once I set my mind to do something, I can get really focused.  I felt very satisfied that I had done a thorough job shopping, had purchased nothing unhealthy, and was excited to get started with the new recipes.  Eating healthy is really quite easy for me.  I like a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains. The hard part came in turning away from foods that I liked because of unhealthy ingredients or being overly processed.  Can I really live without Ruffles potato chips or Dr Pepper??

But an amazing thing happened.  Several weeks after removing all the refined sugar and processed foods from my diet, everything ELSE tasted better!  All the processing and negative ingredients had been hiding the very best of the flavors.  I was enjoying this new, healthy food plan much better than I had anticipated.  And of course, I began to lose weight and feel better as well.  It was a win!

However, as we humans tend to do, I got my eyes off the goal.  It was extremely hard to stick to my plan when eating at a restaurant, or when invited to another’s home.  Work became more demanding, so drive-thru fast food meals began to be a habit again.  My body was feeling weary so the caffeine intake increased.  I still really loved eating healthy, but there just didn’t seem to be time to regroup.  It was just too hard.

This is such an example of how I’ve been in my spiritual life so many times.  I would get focused. Determine what bible reading plan I would use.  Shop around for books that would encourage me, tapes that would motivate me, groups to join where we could share this awesome experience with God together. But then I would struggle with the things I had to let go of.  Could I turn away from my thoughts that had been processed by the world, or the hidden ingredients of my life, like the sin of a critical spirit?  Could I really live without judging everyone, even if it was just in my mind??  Life’s demands would call and my focus would shift.  I still loved God.  I would try to regroup, but I had let the old ways back in, and it was just too hard.

2 Timothy 2:21 says “Whoever cleanses himself from what is unclean and separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences will then himself be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.”

Psalm 34:8 says “O taste and see that the Lord is good!”

We long to be vessels of honor, our lives spent in noble purposes.  But it requires that we turn away from those things that contaminate us, the corrupting influences of the world that cloud our thinking and hinder our spiritual progress.  We must be diligent and pay attention that these things don’t creep back into our lives when life gets busy and the pressure’s on.  When we are willing to turn from these things, He promises to help us do exactly that.  We can get excited about spending time with Him, and His word becomes so much more enjoyable.  We can taste God like never before, and see how truly good He is!!

Christian, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Because I said so

I suspect that most children have heard this expression at least once in their lives.  If you are a part of my generation, you probably heard it more than once, and if you had been a fly on the wall in my home as I was growing up, you would have heard it a great many times.  My parents were of the belief that children didn’t need explanations, they were just to obey.  Promptly.

If an instruction to do something was given, it didn’t matter to my parents whether or not I wanted to do what they asked.  It certainly never occurred to them to consult me as to how I felt about doing whatever was asked.  And understanding why I had to sweep the porch, or hang the clothes on the line was not important; what was important is that the task be completed.  Promptly.

I remember thinking that I would NEVER say that to my children….

But there was a moment in time I got a glimpse of what my mother’s world was like.  I will try very hard to paint this picture in your minds, but the reality is that you just had to be there to truly understand…..

My father was self-employed; he always had numerous ventures going, all at the same time, and would come and go throughout the day.  If he wanted to bring someone to the house with him, it never occurred to give my mother notice that there would be a guest.  My mother was a full-time homemaker with five children.  We lived in a house (built by my dad) that was large enough to contain us all with a little room to spare, as my older sister had left the nest, married, and had a baby of her own.

At this time, I am in my early teens.  My sister, her husband and baby happened to be staying with us that summer.  Our home was filled to capacity.  She and I had set up our sewing machines up in the dining area and she had put the baby down for a nap.  Now this was no easy thing.  He HATED naps and had the lung capacity of an experienced scuba diver.  He could scream for a reeeeaaaalllllyyyy long time!  Our dining area and kitchen were combined, so as we sewed we could see our mother cooking.  (For the better part of my childhood, she cooked three meals a day, plus thousands upon thousands of cookies and cakes.)  So we sewed and talked and laughed with the sound of a crying child in the background.  We just talked louder.

We three were busy about our tasks, as my dad walks through with one of his friends (unannounced), on a mission to complete some type of project in the house.  I think my new brother-in-law was in tow, but much of this is a blur, so I’m not sure.  I have no idea where my other siblings were.  While we were sewing, mom was cooking, dad was back and forth through the kitchen with one or more persons following, the milkman arrives for our bi-weekly delivery.  (Yes, we really did have milk delivered to our house – but make no mistake, it was in plastic gallon jugs, not glass bottles from a horse drawn buggy!!)  There are 10 people living in this house and the milkman delivered 7 gallons of milk twice per week.  My mom is scrambling to juggle whatever is on the stove with cleaning out the refrigerator to accommodate the milk, answering my father’s questions as he came through, and who knows what else.

And in that moment I see the utter chaos that often defined my mother’s world.  I remember my sister and I laughing at the craziness of it all.  After that, “because I said so” made a little more sense when my mother needed something done.

Jesus’ told His disciples “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak”  John 12:49

When the Father told Jesus what to do, He did not respond with the childish “but why?”.   And much of what the Father said to do didn’t make sense to the human mind.  I don’t see Jesus going to God with:  You want me to do what?  Why do I have to spit in the dirt and put the mud on the guys eyes?  Why can’t I do it another way?

He heard the command of His Father and obeyed.  Promptly.

That scripture from John has been on my mind a lot.  I pray lofty prayers of wanting more of God, but do I speak to that stranger I see crying when I feel that gentle prompting?  Do I give the dirty, homeless beggar my lunch money, or do I reason in my mind that his motives are deceptive?  Do I make that phone call, confront that difficult situation, tell that person about Jesus?  Or do I ask God “why”?  Or even worse, do I ignore His command?

I believe God wants to give us insight and understanding into His ways.  Our open and surrendered hearts give Him opportunity to do just that.  But I believe our unquestioning obedience comes first.   Doing whatever He says to do.  Promptly.  Because He said so.

Christian, Spiritual

The Umpire

I’ve mentioned that I don’t know a lot about sports.  I am learning more about baseball each year as our son plays.  Mostly, I just want to take pictures.  But I’ve learned that I have to know where the play is going to be in order to catch the shot.  I’m still working on that.  There are so many things that can happen once a batter has connected with the ball!

I do understand the umpire’s role.  Bless his heart.  He takes a lot of grief from those who do not like the decision he made.  They love him when he calls it their way, but the poor guy hears about it if they don’t. He has a tough job.  He many times has to make a decision in a split second.  In little league, there’s no camera recording the game, no instant replay option.  And the spectators just have to live with the decision made, even if it was wrong.  I would not want to be an umpire.

Ever wished there was an umpire in your mind?  You know, those times when you are struggling with making a decision.  If you’re like me, you over analyze the problem, leaving you with numerous possibilities, which then makes it even harder to come to a conclusion.  Many times we reach out to someone we trust, asking for their advice.  This is a good practice when we have solid people in our lives who are known for their wisdom.

I remember several years ago I was truly tormenting myself with a decision.  It was a serious situation, but I didn’t trust myself.  I kept second guessing, looking at it from every angle, weighing the pros and cons, frustrated.  I felt I knew what I should do, but it didn’t make sense to me.  That inner voice whispering to me went against all my natural instincts.  It wouldn’t make sense to anyone else either, how would I explain my choice?

I went with the inner voice.  Later when the crisis was over, I did talk to a wise person.  In exposing my inward struggle to her, she said the simplest thing, but as soon as she said it I knew I had made the right choice:

Follow peace.

Colossians 3:15 says And let the peace, soul harmony which comes from Christ, act as umpire continually in your hearts, deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state to which as members of Christ’s one body you were also called to live.  And be thankful, giving praise to God always.

We were called to live in peace, and Jesus provided His peace to be the umpire!!  He is always there, ready to help us make the right decisions, decisions we don’t have to torment ourselves over.  Decisions that will be exactly right for the final outcome.  Did others understand my decision?  Some did, some did not.  But I have the absolute assurance that it was what He wanted me to do. The reasons were revealed to me later, reasons that allowed me to move forward with my life in even greater peace.

Follow peace.  This umpire calls it right every time!!

Christian, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Goodbyes

Today was the funeral for a young woman I’ve only known for about a year.  She was engaging and energetic, full of life and easy to like.  We met during the soccer program at church; she and I spent a couple of days together in the initial preparations for the season to begin.  During those days we had time to chat and get to know each other a little.

She was single with a teenage son and her mother living with her.  Her son was the center of her world and she adored him.  She mentioned that she had recently been in contact with someone she dated in high school, but she didn’t know if she wanted to open that door again.  She just couldn’t decide.   I shared with her the fact that I had married a high school acquaintance just a few short years ago, and she wanted to know my story.  I won’t go into the details now, but it was God.  God made my way clear in some miraculous ways, and she found it all very interesting.  I told her that God would show her.  He would make it evident if this was His plan for her, and I promised to pray for her decisions.

Well, before you know it I see her one day with a man, the man.  She introduces us and we visit a minute or two.  And in a few days I get a message from her on facebook asking if I would make the bridesmaids dresses for her wedding!!  Evidently, she got her answer from God!!  I shared her excitement and looked forward to being a part of another cool story.

Some things just don’t make sense.  We can’t figure them out in our minds, and our souls long for answers. To lose a love unexpectedly, before they’ve grown old, truly is the ultimate test of our faith.  To find our way through the unbearable pain to believe that God is still good, still sovereign, still working.

This precious child of God is in His presence right now, seeing the full picture, knowing the answers to all the questions and having complete understanding.  Grief isn’t about the one we’ve lost, it’s about us.   It’s especially about those who were in her inner circle, those that had intimate connections with her, those that loved her the most.  Taking that next breath, waking up the next day, going through the motions of life when the earth has shifted, never to be the same again.  Wondering how to do this when they’re empty with no strength left.

So if you’re mourning the loss of this wonderful woman, know this:  We have a Father Who has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  Who is our Strength, our Refuge, our Shelter.  And He sent His son to bear our grief.  This is the comfort that we will make it through, that this darkness of soul will not destroy us, because He is light.  Rest in His unfailing love and find peace.

Now, if you knew Kelly, you know she liked to talk.  She could talk fast, and I’m pretty sure she hit a very high word quota each day!  And I’ll bet she is chattin it up with Jesus right now!!  🙂

For Kelly Parker – you blessed me, and this is my tribute to you.  You are loved and you are missed.  When you meet my Daddy (he’s a bit of a talker himself!) and my son, Charles, would you give them a great big hug from me and tell them I can’t wait to see them again??  Thanks

Christian, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Aliens!!

My husband likes sci-fi.  A lot.  I’ve seen more movies about aliens in the last 6+ years that I have in the all the previous years of my life.  I’m not sure why the creators of these creatures always include slime. Gross.  But the best movies are the ones where the aliens look like normal human beings.  These plots provide the most suspense as you’re never sure which person is an alien and which is not.  While at some point in the movie they usually reveal their true nature and appearance (here comes the slime), they assimilate themselves into life on earth very well prior to this revelation.  It’s hard to tell the aliens from the humans.

Did you know that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, YOU’RE the alien??  John records Jesus saying “….you are not of the world…” John 15:19.  At the moment we put our faith in Him, He made us new creatures – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   2 Corinthians 5:17   He gave us His Holy Spirit to live in us which changed our nature!

Peter wrote a letter to some of the churches that were undergoing suffering and persecution.  He reminds them that they have been “regenerated – born again – not from a mortal origin, but from one that is immortal...” 1 Peter 1:23.

He goes on to exhort them in their conduct, “…be done with every trace of wickedness and all deceit and insincerity and grudges and slander and evil speaking of every kind.” 2:1, and called them a “…chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you…” 2:9

Then he makes a very serious and emotional request,  “Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles in this world to abstain from the evil desires and passions of the flesh, your lower nature…” 2:11.

The question of the day:  Does the world (those without Christ) know we are aliens?  Can they tell any difference between us and themselves, their friends, our co-workers?  Or have we so assimilated ourselves with the world that we look and act the same?

Now, I’m not against wearing the latest fashions (if modest) or makeup, etc.  God is not nearly as concerned about the outward as the inward – the heart.  “…for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

But does the world see us just like them?  Can they tell a difference in what we say and what we do?  Do they think we’re peculiar? (I love that verse.  It’s ok to be peculiar. 🙂 )

Let’s look at 1 Peter 2:9 again:  “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…

Our lives are to display HIM!!  Let’s live our lives so much in love with Jesus that people can’t help but notice we’re peculiar…I mean different!!

Christian, Spiritual, Uncategorized

In Position

I don’t know a lot about sports.  The only sports I played in school were basketball (and I use the term “played” loosely), I ran track, and we had one powder-puff football game that I participated in.

First come the practices of the fundamentals of the game.  In basketball you had to learn to dribble and run (and crazy enough, they wanted you to do these two things at the same time!), you had to learn how to pass the ball properly, and shoot it into that very small hoop.  In football you had to learn to catch, pass, kick, and run with the ball.  In track you had to learn about proper running form and how to pass a baton while running in a relay.

Then you are given the play book which showed the position you should be in for every play.   In track the only “play” you practiced was the hand-off of the baton from one runner to the other, but positioning was very important.

I was terrible at basketball.  I was completely lacking in confidence, and I was literally afraid of the other players – the aggressive opponents as well as my highly competitive teammates.  I couldn’t bear the looks from them when I messed up.  So I very gladly took my position on the bench for almost every game, happy to be a part of the team while having no real part in a win or a loss.

I was good at football.  But alas, there was only one game to display my skills.  Shyness gone and no one to fear, I enjoyed the game. But my success in the football game primarily came from the fact that I could run.  Track was my sport.

As a team member who had become highly competitive myself, it was the most frustrating thing for a fellow teammate upon which my success depended to be out of position.  In track, if they couldn’t hand the baton off to me as I started to run, I would have to slow down to get it.  This of course, delayed my arrival at the finish line.  Grrrrrr.  For the basketball and football players, one player out of position changes the play dramatically.  I can only imagine how the coach feels after carefully orchestrating each play, drilling the team members repeatedly through the motions, only to see the missed opportunity when one is out of position.

In this life, we have an Owner, Manager, and Coach that has given us a perfect playbook.  He sees the beginning to the end, knows every move we need to make, promises to never leave us, and has victory secured if we follow His plan.  So are we in position??

There is nothing more miserable than being in the wrong position in the game.  That’s where I was last year.  So I began to ask God to show me where I needed to be.  The first position He said to take:  “Be still” (Psalm 46:10).  What??  In my hurry-scurry world, with so very much to do, how can I be still?  This had to be a conscious effort, to make my mind and body slow down.  The next part of that verse says  “and know – recognize and understand – that I am God.”  I’ve struggled many times in my relationship with God because I wouldn’t get still enough for Him to reveal Himself to me.

We must get still, learn to recognize and understand that He is God.  When we put ourselves in this position, meditate on our God who is Almighty, how do our problems compare?  Being still changes our perspective.

The next position He revealed:  “Stand still” (2 Chronicles 20:17).  Jehoshaphat had just gotten word that there were 3 armies coming against him.  He got still and “set himself to seek the Lord” (v.3).  He got still so that he could remember who his God is and hear how to get in position. God didn’t remove the problem, He didn’t stop the armies, but He told him “Be not afraid…the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15).  Then He says “…take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord Who is with you…”(v.17).   Those armies that came against them?  They slaughtered each other!!

We have to take a stand of faith.  BELIEVE GOD.  His plans are to give us “hope in our final outcome” (Jeremiah 29:11)!  He can do more when we stand still in faith than we can ever accomplish on our own, and certainly more than when we are willing to just sit on the bench!  Let’s get in position and practice the very presence of our loving Heavenly Father.  He’s waiting to lead us to victory!!

Christian, Spiritual, Uncategorized

The Gift

When I was a child I was given a gift.  It was the most beautiful package I had ever seen.  The wrapping was elaborate and I’d heard that it had been perfectly, lovingly designed with me in mind.  The gift-giver was very wealthy and I knew that this gift had been very expensive to purchase.  I was so delighted it had been given to me and at the promise that it would always be mine.   Those around me who had been given a gift like mine said “Just take it, it belongs to you!  Having this gift is all you will ever need!”

So throughout childhood and into adulthood, I took this gift with me everywhere!  I ate with it, slept with it, took it to school, took it to work – it never left me.  But being human, after a while I paid less and less attention to it.  It was there, but had lost its lustre in my eyes.  I was happy that I still had it, yet I wondered why it had lost its attraction.

Sometimes my gift was set on the cluttered shelves, or placed on the dirty floors.  I tried to keep it out of the messes I made, but it seemed to be collecting a lot of dust and the wrapping was spotted with stains. This wonderful gift was supposed to be a joy to me, it was supposed to make my life beautiful as well – all I would ever need!  What’s wrong with my gift?  Maybe I didn’t even deserve to have it!  The thought of facing the gift-giver was painful, so I avoided an encounter.

Then one day the inevitable happens, and I am face-to-face with the gift-giver.  I am ashamed that I haven’t been worthy of the expensive gift, that I haven’t taken better care of it.  I admit, I don’t know what to do with this gift.  I know I should, but I don’t.  I stutter to make promises that I will do better, but the gift-giver stops me from speaking.  I hang my head as the gift-giver speaks.

“I have known you all your life.  I designed this expensive gift just for you and it delighted me to give it to you.  I’ve tried to get your attention, to let you know what to do with it, but there were many voices in your ear and you didn’t hear me.  I reassure you, it does belong to you.  It will never be taken away from you.  But you must OPEN it!  The beautiful, elaborate wrapping is only a part of the gift I purchased – there is so much more for you to have and enjoy!!  With this gift from my heart of love, I not only made you my own child, I gave you a peace that will pass understanding.  I gave you joy that is indescribable.  I gave you a safe place to run to when life is hard.  I gave you strength to overcome the difficulties that come your way.  I gave you wisdom and understanding.  You just have to look into this gift and you will find it all!  Lift your head, I love you.  Let me show you what I’ve given you!!”

I’ve never known anyone who received a gift that didn’t immediately open it to see what all it contained! Ok, some people take their time and loose every piece of tape one by one, but the goal is still to unveil what is inside the wrapping.  Usually we dig in the box, turning over every piece to make sure we’ve gotten everything out.  How frustrating would it be to give someone a gift that they never opened all the way, never took what you paid a great price to give them!!

God has given us the greatest gift of all, salvation, purchased with a priceless sacrifice, Jesus.  He made us His own through His magnificent love and is even now preparing our place in heaven.  If heaven was all that was in the gift, it would be enough.  But there’s more!! He wants us to “open” Jesus, to look through His word and find out all that He purchased for us.  Jesus said “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance – to the full, till it overflows!” (John 10:10).

Ready to dig??