Friday, March 29, 2013

What Would You Pray For? Part II

From the archives for Good Friday:
"I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message."
John 17:20

What will your legacy be?

Maybe a great financial estate, property, antiques, loving words penned by your own hand, or simply a life lived well and happy family memories?

Jesus had no estate, no wife, or children or hefty bank accounts. But his life lived in God's  perfect will and his words penned by those closest to him. These recorded words, including his last prayer, are the most precious legacy anyone could ask for. For through these words, God's free gift of eternal life extends to all generations.

The second part of Jesus' Gethsemane prayer he prays for his disciples: "My prayer is not that you (God) take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Looking ahead, Jesus knew the disciples' lives would need God's protection as they faced persecution on a religious, political and even global extent. And he prayed that God would speak His truth in them through His word, sanctifying them, setting them apart as a holy people. For through these disciples, we today share God's saving grace and the hope of eternal life.

Finally, Jesus prays for us. This absolutely blows my mind until I realize that Jesus is the Word which spoke creation into existence. Then it all makes sense, for he does not think on a finite scale but an infinite one. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last and so he thinks in terms of eternity. He knows at that moment in Gethsemane, that what he is about to face has global and eternal significance and therefore, reaches beyond his present relationships.

"My prayers are not for them (disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:20-21).

Jesus prays that we may be unified believers amongst ourselves and united as one with the Trinity so that the world...THE WORLD...may believe Jesus as savior and in turn receive the gift of eternal life.

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).

This is Jesus' legacy for his children (those who know God and believe in Jesus whom he sent to earth on our behalf) - these words that call for us not only to spread his message, his story, offer his gift of eternal life through Christ, but to do so in the unity of the Gospel. For no matter how we worship, when we worship, or where we worship-if we believe in the only true God and his Son, Jesus Christ, then we share the same family line. And our inheritance is eternity in God's kingdom, as sons and daughters, heir to his throne.

Jesus, I cannot comprehend all your thoughts, your agony as you prayed that night in Gethsemane. My heart cannot express how grateful, how humbled it is to know that you set aside your own purposes, your own pain for the sake of those you did not yet know, who had yet to be born. May those of us who do know you today not accept the cost of our inheritance into God's kingdom lightly, but seek for unity in the faith that the world may know the only true God and you, dearest Jesus, whom He sent. Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Would You Pray

Photo Credit:
"...he looked toward heaven and prayed..." John 17:1

There's no turning back the clock. Your time on earth is running short and you know it. You've said all your good-byes. What would you pray for?

Not knowing for sure what lies beyond life's veil drives us to hold on as long as possible to the only life we know and the people we love most. Pain sometimes pushes the dying to wish for relief but sadness always accompanies their departure. 

Jesus knew life from both sides-heaven and earth-life with Creator Father and life with the created and he loved both.

(Join me over at {re}fresh today, won't you? Just click here.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Playing Hide-N-Seek

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 

Hiding his eyes behind two pudgy hands, my toddler grandson starts counting. “One, two, three, four, five…” His excitement builds and he rushes, “Eight – nine – ten…here I come!” He’s now in hot pursuit of his slightly older sister. Oh, how he thrills in the pursuit. 

He searches all the obvious spots—behind the couch or the chair, under the kitchen table, or behind a closed door—and calls her by name. Barely unable to contain her giggles, his sister stays hidden until she just can’t stand it anymore and yells, “I’m here! I’m here!” And willingly, she becomes the pursuer. 

We still play Hide-N-Seek—you and I—only it’s not as obvious.
(Pssst...You'll find me playing over at 7 Days Time today. Join us, wont' you?)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Supernaturally Natural in Every Way

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

She gripped her pencil with ease and started drawing. Her simplistic artistry shone far beyond her little eighteen months with skills even a four-year-old had difficulty mastering. We watched in awe as she naturally held the pencil correctly and formed circles, drew detailed facial features like eye lashes and fully clothed bodies with buttons and shoes. Certainly, her artistic abilities and her knack for details were God-given. 

Now a preschooler, she recently joined me on the set of Penn’s Pals where the author asked if anyone was an artist or thought they’d like to be an artist when they grow up. When she didn’t raise her hand I clarified, “Artists are people who like to draw, paint, color, or make things.” She appeared conflicted, half heartedly raising her hand, so I encouraged her. “Yes, you are an artist.”

“No, I’m not an artist! I gonna be a mommy when I grow up,” she replied with great determination and confidence.  

Although naturally artistic, her heart’s desire rang loud and clear. And her response made me ponder. If God set our purpose in motion from the very beginning—if he knit our DNA together inside our mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13-16)—then shouldn’t our deepest desire naturally align itself with God’s will for us?  

(Psssst...I'm sharing the rest of the story over at Christian Children's Authors blog today. C'mon, kick your feet up for another minute and enjoy that hot cup o' coffee with me, won't you? Just click here).


Monday, March 11, 2013

From Discipline to Hunger

"He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:9

Hungry seagulls surrounded us as we tossed their feast upon the sea drenched sand. They fought and stumbled over every crumb, as though they hadn't eaten in days. The smartest - the ones  most disciplined and with the keenest eyes - caught the choicest bits in mid air.

My husband, Peter,  taunted one such hungry bird. Holding out a crusty morsel, the smart gull locked his gaze, waiting the bread's release. With every rise and fall of Peter's hand, the bird jumped and landed...jumped and landed...jumped and landed; his gaze and purpose ever fixed on that bread.

Over Lent, we've instilled three new disciplines: healthy eating, regular exercise, and praying together.

Why these? If this were a VLOG post (video blog), the first two would be obvious. Winter in New England + over 50 + office job creates a sedentary lifestyle. The prayer discipline comes from seeing our deperate world and knowing it's time to pray together,"God's Kingdom, come."

Why now? We chose Lent (40 days) as our starting point because (1) human behavior proves it takes thirty days to change old habits into new disciplines and (2) led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus endured a forty day wilderness fast in preparation for his earthly ministry. Both my husband and I feel God's moving us forward.

We sat outside a seaside church Sunday morning, gazing up at a steeple-perching seagull. I smiled, recalling the silly seagull-feeding antics of the previous day and I heard God whisper, "Move from discipline to hunger. Hunger for Jesus more than food, more than prayer or reading My Word. Hunger for Me."

Jesus, our choicest morsel - the Bread of Life - broken for me and you. His outstretched arms freely offer up grace and extend to us, life everlasting, but more than that, He offers us an intimate, satisfying relationship with our Creator - God himself.

What disciplines help you to hunger more for of God's presence?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

7 Things We Learn When Kids Say No to God

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

His defiant teen aged hands gripped the mattress seam as I attempted to pull him out of bed one Sunday morning. His strength now surpassed my mama strength and I was quickly losing the battle. But it was more than just a war of the wills between a teenage boy who stayed up too late on a Saturday night and his church-goin' mama; it was a battle for his heart.

While he questioned God - His very existence - I thought I was losing him. His questioning caught me off guard and sent my head searching for all those right words that quickly disappeared behind mama-grief. As a parent, torn between guilt and anger, I felt betrayed by God.

(Although this was a recent post, I'm sharing this over at Christian Childrens Author's blog today in obedience to God's prodding; as though someone needs encouragement in this area).