Sunday, March 23, 2014

Grandparenting with Grace: Five minute Friday's writing prompt= JOY

Yes I am a few days late for Five minute Friday ( ). Working all day Friday makes for difficulty to get it done Friday, at least for me. So a few days late is better than not at all. 

This weeks prompt was JOY. I may be cheating a bit as when I read the prompt I remembered something I had written a while back and thought I'd cut and past along with adding to it.


Contemplate the Cost

It is well and good to celebrate Easter Sunday. After all, Christ has indeed risen!! Without the resurrection we would have no Savior, He would have remained in the grave and our hope would be in vain. Yet, perhaps we should not be so quick to progress to the glory without taking time to grasp the reality of Christ’s journey to that glory. If one rejoices in the resurrection, but fails to embrace the agony of the cross, part of what is glorious is lost, and the true meaning of our need for a Savior is ignored in celebration.
I have learned one cannot comprehend true joy without the experience of heart wrenching sorrow and pain. For without the sorrow and pain woven into the fabric of our lives- by what measurement do we establish the quality of our joy?  I can know the joy of holding my first born in my arms, but only after the pain and struggle of the birth process and the loss of another little one who was never to have drawn a breath. In the spring, new growth erupts and we marvel at the beauty of it after the long, hard, bitter days of winter. So, it is fitting to celebrate the resurrection of the Paschal lamb; what was thought to be dead has not only come to life, but in the process we too have been given the opportunity to taste a glorious eternity.
However, Christ was called to the cross to endure our judgment. By no means was it a walk in the park. Ours should be His naked body with its torn flesh. The spittle on His face, the curses ringing in His ears and the spasms wracking His body is what we deserve in the eyes of a Holy and righteous God.  But, God so loved us that He sent His beloved, precious and perfect Son to make us to be righteous in His sight. If one truly grasps the meaning and intensity of such love, one cannot but be amazed. That is why I ask:
Can there be any pain or degree of loneliness as great as that which my Lord felt that day long ago when His Father turned His face away and abandoned His perfect and precious Son to my sin?  Jesus risked all He had to enter into relationship with me; what do I risk when turning to Him?  A bad habit?  A sinful nature?  What degree of loneliness am I called to endure for my Savior? And, am I willing?
Do we daily take up what God has called us to do willingly, or do we go about life believing there is no struggle to be had in this life for the cause of Christ? There are many ways to respond to such a question. We can refuse to acknowledge God’s call on our lives and live as we choose, never entering into a true relationship with our Creator. We can spout Bible verses, and sing Halleluiahs in praise, claiming all is well and we never feel alone and empty. Or, we can truly be Christ like and cry out in anguish when we feel abandoned and alone; we can go before our Father and ask to be spared the trial we are being asked to endure if at all possible. We can also humbly bow and say, “Thy will be done.” In doing so, however, we may be called to endure a haunting loneliness of soul. For many times what is in God’s will is not to be understood by others. Even Jesus experienced this as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, as He faced betrayal by the kiss of a friend, and as His disciples fled in fear leaving Him alone to stand before Pilate and hear the chosen of God cry out for His blood.
If we are truly listening to the voice of God, we should certainly expect our own Gethsemane experiences in life. On the other hand, the amazing reality to it all is that we can know that we never have to experience the Father’s turning away from us and leaving us in total darkness, void of His presence, for that is what Christ experienced for us. If the agony of the journey from Gethsemane to Jerusalem and on to Golgotha was torture, just imagine what it must have been like for the Son of God to experience the Father’s absolute absence.
Yes, I will celebrate Easter and the risen Lamb! Yet I remain humbly awed by such great love, me the imperfect made perfect through the grave suffering and anguish of the One without a single spot of imperfection, my what a price was paid for me. That is why I cannot forget the cross; for only where the pain and sorrow are truly embraced openly can the fullness of real joy take hold. 

Like I said, I cheated. But what Joy there is in knowing I have eternal life.

Grandparenting with Grace: eternal life

 Today I found this poem, Hidden Treasure (Anonymous) and thought it really is the way of life. We spin and weave our lives, hopefully as He directs, and find great joy and shining moment of happiness among the sorrows and pains.  At times we do grow weary of the task of living, but if we live for eternity we can be assured of "the grandest gift of all".

Hidden Treasure
"It was long ago I read the story sweet~
Of how the German mothers, o'er the sea,
Wind in, throughout the yarn their girlies knit,
Some trinkets small, and tiny shining coins,
That when the little fingers weary grow,
And fain would lay aside the tiresome task,
From out the ball will drop the hidden gift,
To please and urge them on in search of more.
And so, I think, the Father kind above
Winds in and out the skein of life we weave,
Through all the years, bright tokens of His love,
That when we weary grow and long for rest
They help to cheer and urge us on for more;
And far adown within the ball we find,
When all the threads of life at last are spun,
The grandest gift of all~eternal life."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Grandparenting with Grace: Finishing well

One of my New Year's resolutions was to spend more time reading God's Word, applying it to my life, and listening and praying quietly. So far I ave done this. I am unable to sit each and every day-something I am working on, but I am spending more time with God and finding He does speak through His word.

Today during my devotional time I read, Isaiah38:1-5 

vs. 1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Isn't this true? We are all going to die. We had better get our house in order!! We cannot escape; we will not recover. 

vs' 2-3  Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,  “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Oh if  I could say that!!
"I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”    . . . with wholehearted devotion" I want to be able to say that!! Yes I do. I want to please God. 

I have been waiting for some one to come along side of me and listen, understand, and share in my struggle. However!!!! I have been counting on man!! Man cannot save me. For eternity, nor for the moment. Only Christ can meet me where I am. This trial has brought me to my knees, actually it has seen me prostrate.  I am nothing without Christ. Life is not fair. But I want to finish well. To do what is right in His sight. To know I have done my best for Him. I want to live for eternity, not just for today. I need to put my eyes on Him and run the race for Him, finishing well.

1 Corinthians 9:24-26 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air."