Saturday, December 26, 2009

Forgiveness =salvation?

".......and we know that he received God's forgiveness 4 or 5 years ago...." the message read on our family forum. The sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach would not go away, even after I deleted the post from my inbox. I'd heard of this before---people thinking forgiveness equated salvation, but surely not in my family! We knew better...didn't we?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Do You Understand the Words Coming Out of My Mouth?

The morning greeted me with ponderings about the Old Testament prophets. I wonder if the Old Testament prophets really understood what God was telling them, or merely doing as they were told. Isaiah, as we know, is the most notable prophet that spoke of the coming of the Savior. Isaiah and his son are talking with Ahaz, and trying to encourage him to not be afraid of the enemies. The enemies want to conquer and divide, but God said it wasn't to happen. Ahaz was told to ask for a sign, but he wouldn't do it. Isaiah basically says, "Fine then! I'll tell you anyway" and so goes the prophecy of a virgin giving birth to a son, and it even speaks of Christ eating curds and honey! In that day also, the land that once gave abundance in vegetation, would be over taken with briars and thorns. He even foretold what Jesus would be eating! (as well as others in that time), as well as to the geographical make up!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas time is here...

So goes the song. Everywhere in town, you see signs of the holiday. The department stores have the old familiar Christmas Carols piped through their loud system; the charity santas are in front of the stores ringing their bells; and shoppers are struggling to smile. I tend to feel like Charlie Brown sometimes. Sure, I enjoy watching the Christmas lights as much as the next person; and I feel an 'awww how precious!" when I see a live Nativity displayed by children of the local church. However, I also feel a sense of... fakeness? Where is all this "love and joy, peace to you, and to you your wassail too!" throughout the year? Maybe I'm just getting older. I just don't enjoy the hustle and bustle like I used to. Yes, I'm grateful for the babe in a manger, but I have to wonder.... do people realize this same babe that we "awwww! how precious!" is the same person that 33 years later, had screams of "CRUCIFY HIM!!" hurled at him?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Revelation: a revelation of Jesus; not end times

While listening to my favorite podcast, I had a 'wow' moment. The caller was wondering about the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation. One of the simple, so-obvious-I-missed-it statements that one of the hosts made was simply, "Revelation is the revelation of Jesus; not of the end times." Jesus is who is revealed, not the exact date of His returning. Sure, we're told what to expect, but it's more of a "don't let this get you down". Jesus is already victorious over sin and death.
Remember: The Lamb Wins

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is Grace tied to everything?

As I was sifting through the mountains of papers I brought home to grade this week, I noticed my blood pressure rose in direct proportion to the grades my students made. My stomach churned, sending rockets of acid boiling back up my esophagus. My head ached. My joints screamed out in pain as I clenched the red ink pen that marked the papers. Had I not known better, I'd swear I had the flu. Reality sat in, and I knew what I was suffering from: Caring-itus. Is there such? Staring at the papers before me, tears welled up in my eyes. WHY did the same students continually demonstrate poor learning skills? The bright red F's on their paper echoed the consequences of students who refused to study, would not stay on task, and more and more simply seemed not to care. I have lost nights of sleep trying to find some new dog and pony show that would interest the students enough to accidentally learn something. Nothing I've tried has worked so far. With the tons of unrelated-to-teaching paper work that the government has us completing, there seems to be less and less time to devote towards meaningful teaching strategies.

Victory over Depression

Listening to a favorite podcast of mine, one such caller asked about taking meds for mental instability. Wisely, the host would not comment on whether or not the caller should just stop taking the medicine, but rather, inquired as to what difficulties she was having with her mental health. The caller admitted that she had been cursing someone who wasn't there, and that her mom had her admitted into a mental institution. Personally, I wondered why that was so strange. I've yelled at imaginary people a lot...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

By Grace are you saved

I heard someone say once, that they were tired of hearing about the Grace message. The "Grace" message is simply the Jesus message. You know... try as I may, I simply can not disconnect Grace from any part of my life. No matter what situation I'm in--dispute with my husband, kids, students; wary of budgeting woes (or lack of budgeting, rather!) the answer to every situation can be traced back to Grace.

Having a fight with spouse? How would love respond? Never mind his finger pointing, maleness, or anything else we gals might lament about. Simply put, how would love respond? Not how we'd like to respond, but how should we respond? 

Trying to budget your finances? Exactly how much of the stuff that we have, do we need? There's an old saying, if we've not used it in two years or more--time to get rid of it. Either donate it to charity, get a receipt for taxes, or have a combined yard sale with neighbors. Of course, I'm a fine one to talk. We keep "yard sale stuff" for years, then never have a yard sale. Age keeps creeping up, and we've simply not the energy nor time to devote to a yard sale. The next best thing: donate to GoodWill. We get a tax write-off, someone else gets quality stuff they can afford. That's how love responds--knowing you're helping.

Putting off cleaning out the garage? Bathroom cabinet? Ironing? Whatever mundane chore awaits you, think about this: Who benefits from our cleaning, ironing, cooking, etc? Your family? Love would want what's best for them. It would be better if they could live in a house not infested with mold, mildew or critters.

Trying to decide if your children are old enough to do chores? Do you find yourself waiting on them hand and foot? How would love respond? God forbid that we should fall over dead tomorrow, will our children know how to cook a meal? Could they wash their own laundry? Would they know how to shop for best prices? It's not being a slave driver to have our kids learn (although we could hear some laments to the contrary!) I'm sure we want our children to become self sufficient individuals that don't expect hand outs at every given turn. So in love, we make our children clean the kitchen, take out the trash, and care for the family pet. Instill a good work ethic. That's how love responds.

Tired of Grace? Not a chance. Grace is ever present and has permeated every nook and cranny of my life. I welcome the saturation of my heart and soul as day by day, God teaches me, through His grace, how to love others as He's loved me.