Distress, Comfort, and a Catechism

Today I belong to Jesus—body and soul. Today I have an inheritance that reflects my spiritual DNA, and although I face daily temptations and suffer momentary affliction, I am also today sustained by this tomorrow-identity, from now until beyond the grave. Sin—the flesh, the world, the enemy—works to make me forget truth. When it succeeds, comfort flees, and I seek pseudo-comforts, and when they disappoint, I react accordingly in anger or dismay, eventually bearing out the consequences of idolatry. However, there is timelessness in God’s grace and forgiveness. My tomorrow-identity depends upon His integrity, not my feelings.[viii] His passage through the veil with me cannot be reversed or undone. His resurrection adheres me to Him, and He cannot become un-resurrected.

Calibrating Life to God’s Good Will

How things have changed—and yet, they’ve stayed the same! Time never seems to act the way we want it to. I find it incomprehensible that I am in my 50s, that more than half of an average woman’s lifetime has elapsed—until I look in the mirror and see that my mind’s eye has tricked me and aging’s truth serum reveals the brutal reality that so many years have sped by.

But, on the other hand, I seem to spend so much energy marking time wherein there seems to be no evidence that my prayers are heard or regarded in the heavens.

Resolved: To Share the Feast

Christ is the altar of our faith. He is the feast that sustains us and infuses our life and being with delight and joy, nurture and nourishment and strength (Hebrews 13:10-11). He is the living bread, unlike any bread prepared here on earth. More heavenly than the most buttery croissant, more delectable than the sweetest challah, more rich in sustenance than the most rustic grain loaf, Jesus provides life everlasting, joys unimaginable, strength for the ages.

Share this feast. Read the evangel with someone this year. Bring the testimony of the kingdom to someone who is hungry.

Is Simeon’s Christmas Your Christmas?

Simeon believed. He didn’t merely exist, letting the days go by unmarked, unmindful of greater things being done in the heavens, oblivious to the work the Lord was doing to prepare the world for His coming—or even discounting the prophecies, and deciding God might not be as trustworthy as he supposed. He noted the times, and he believed the prophets who said no one is like God. No one could perceive how he works. He is beyond this time and space, and as such, he is the only One who can demand we trust him as he is.

A Christmas Carol That’s Not About Christmas

The page’s very salvation that night depended upon the life-giving warmth from his master’s passage ahead of him. This is how it is with us, for “in Christ we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Our master, our elder brother, our captain does not merely mark the way for us; it is through following him that we are quickened and warmed and made more alive, eventually confirming our hope in resurrection and eternal glory (1 Corinthians 15:23). (a repost of an article that appeared at Servants of Grace)

Strangers on Christmas Day

This Christmas, embrace the oddity that causes angels to desire to look into the incarnation of redemption. Go outside the camp, yearn for the lasting city, echo the joyful songs of the angels, make your home welcome to strangers, and to the King, the one born on Christmas day.

Crave Christ Above Christmas

Fleshly desires are a powerful lot, intrusive, manipulative, and deceitful. At this time of year, they are especially compelling when driven by the idolatry of “the perfect Christmas.” She who would be victorious over them cannot just “remember the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas” or “believe”, still craving something more, something better.

There is no room in the inn for both the cravings that fester in and erupt out of a heart of unbelief and ingratitude and a desire for Christ. If, like me, at some point in the craziness of this season, you look around you and realize your flesh has been ruling the conduct of your heart, come back to Jesus.

Persevere, Moms (a prayer for the school year ahead)

My words for you this day, while I think of so many of you putting your foot forward for your next step on that tightrope, are prayers for joy in the soaring moments and the gut-wrenching struggles; for confidence in what’s true about your sure foundation in Christ regardless of insecurities that swarm around decisions about math books or DVDs or ability to keep your children healthy and growing in wisdom; for strength for the long days and rest for the sleepless nights; for union with Christ, wherein we find our only rest and from whom flows our only strength.

In short, I pray for perseverance.