I recently discovered a tiny book by Max Lucado titled “Cosmic Christmas.” I cried all the way through. It’s a quick read and Max does in this book what he does so well in others. He takes a story told in Scripture and adds a few details to bring the scene more into focus for us. We’ll never know if this is actually how it happened, but what if…….? I love it when he does this because it makes me think about these well-known Scriptures in a different light. It reminds me that there is much more going on in each of these scenarios than what I originally thought. I want to leave you with a short excerpt from this profound little book. What if this is how it really happened?
“The two stood facing each other. God robed in light, each thread glowing. Satan canopied in evil, the very fabric of his robe seeming to crawl.
Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word: Immanuel.
“Immanuel?” He muttered to himself. “God with us?” The hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. “No. Not even you would do that. Not even you would go so far. The plan is bizarre! You don’t know how dark I’ve made the Earth. It’s putrid. It’s evil. It’s…”
“It is mine,” proclaimed the King. “And I will reclaim what is mine.”
“Why?” Satan asked. “Why would you do this?”
The Father’s voice was deep and soft. “Because I love them.”
May you have a blessed Christmas as you remember the One who came and changed everything for all time and all eternity!
I recently asked my Facebook girlfriends to tell me what issues they felt were at the top of women’s lists today. I got many different answers, but one issue in particular seemed to rise to the top: the issue of self-worth. This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart because I’ve struggled with issues of self-worth my whole life.
So many of us buy into the lie that we are only as valuable as what we do. We have to be rich, famous, beautiful or extremely intelligent in order to really matter in life. The truth is most of us will never be categorized as any of those things because most of us are pretty average by the world’s standards. None of those categories fit me and if that’s the case, what does that mean for me? It means I’ve got to learn to define myself in God’s terms, not in the world’s terms.
What does God say to us? First of all, He tells us that we are the most important thing in the universe to Him. How do we know that? Because He literally sacrificed His one and only Son for us. If that doesn’t tell us what we are worth to Him, then nothing will. When your spouse, kids, friends, neighbors or co-workers don’t tell you what you mean to them, go to the Scripture to remind yourself just what you mean to God.
1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” Whenever you start feeling worthless, remind yourself of this most foundational truth. This is how much we are loved. This is how much we are worth to the God of the universe. He made the ultimate sacrifice to prove His love because He didn’t want to live without us. Wow. Stop and really think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. This kind of love and sacrifice should overwhelm us all! Yes, you are loved more than you will ever know! Don’t ever forget it!
I’m sitting at my desk right now thinking about the many decisions we, as human beings, have to make each day. Sometimes I want the power to choose and sometimes I don’t. There are certain decisions in life that are really tough and in those moments I just wish God would send me an email with explicit instructions about what to do. I want to live in His Will. I don’t want to make mistakes. Life would be so much easier if He would just tell me every move to make.
Just as my mind wanders down this path, I’m suddenly halted by another realization. The ability to choose is a GIFT from my Creator. There are times when I get stuck in the details of life and I want to know how specific issues are going to work out, but if I can look at the bigger picture and look at my BIG God, then all of the details fall into place. He gives me the gift of choice. I can choose to walk around in bondage being weighed down by worry, fear and regret or I can choose to walk in His freedom.
God didn’t want His people to be robots programmed to love and trust. No. He wants us, as His creation, to WANT to love Him and trust Him. That’s real love. He wants us to choose to walk in His freedom. He doesn’t want us to simply be programmed for it.
I’m surprised by how many times I think so little of God. I have such low expectations of Him. My small mind forgets that He is all-powerful and He wants what is best for me. If I choose God and His freedom then He will make the path clear before me. I will know what to do in the details because I’ve already made the right choice in one of the foundational issues of life: choosing freedom in Him over bondage.
Choosing your God-ordained freedom ultimately means choosing to let go and give Him control. Choosing to turn your back on worry and despair and live in certainty and hope. We are certain that God is able and we have hope because of His deep love for us. We don’t need an email from Him because He writes to us on the tablets of our hearts through His Holy Spirit. When we keep our eyes on the bigger picture and on our big God, He makes all of the details clear.
Choose freedom, my friends! You won’t be disappointed!
We are getting ready to celebrate the birthday of our great country this weekend and because of that, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about freedom and liberty recently. I truly love this country and I take great pride in the fact that I’m an American. When I stop to think about the generations before us and all they went through to secure our freedom, it’s overwhelming. I only hope if I had been living back then, that I would have been willing to make the same sacrifices they made for us. I’m so thankful to live in a country that places such a high value on freedom.
While I’m grateful for the freedom this country offers me, I’m even more grateful and overwhelmed by the freedom my Savior offers me. There are many people walking the streets of this free country, bound. There are also many people roaming the hallways of the churches in this free country, bound. Most don’t even know they have chains binding them. They’re bound by addiction, depression, guilt, money, a feeling of worthlessness and the list goes on and on. While our country offers certain freedoms and rights for us as human beings on this earth, Christ offers true freedom for our minds, hearts and souls that will not only be experienced here on earth, but for all of eternity. One of my favorite scriptures is Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I want to live in all of the freedom Christ has for me and I want to encourage my neighbors and friends to do the same. God has so much more for all of us and I want to do my part in helping others attain all that God has for them.
Let’s remember to be thankful for our freedom and be conscious of doing what we can to help spread that freedom. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
Two weeks ago my 83 year-old grandmother accepted Christ as her Savior! I have to tell you that my family has been praying for this for years. She recently had a stroke and although she is continuing to improve, she still can’t walk. She’s currently going through rehab to regain her mobility. While she was in the nursing home receiving her rehabilitation, my mom had the privilege of leading her own mother to Christ right there in her room. I am still astonished. Wow! What a God we serve! No one is ever too old to start the most important relationship of their lives. I don’t know how long my grandmother will be living here on this earth, but it gives me great peace to know where she’ll be living for eternity.
Have you ever prayed for something for years? Have you ever thought about giving up? Don’t. Don’t ever give up. God is listening and He is working even when we can’t see it. Psalm 121 tells us He never slumbers or sleeps. He is always at work and I believe He takes great joy in surprising His children with answered prayers when they least expect it.
What have you been praying for?