Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Suffering & Eternal Glory

Portions from Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

While few of us would (or even should) have the courage to willingly choose sorrow, when we find ourselves in it, if we quieted our souls down - if we learned to float in it rather than thrash about like a drowning emotional victim - we might find . . . that it can be used to set us free. . . .

Anne Lindbergh Jr. - "I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable." . . .

If we live without an eternal perspective, earthly trials become larger than life. Without the hope of heaven or the sense of the importance of a growing character and refinement, there is nothing to prepare for, nothing to look forward to; it is like practicing and practicing, but never getting to actually play a game. Life gets boring, tedious, and tiresome. . . .

If we are seeking glory, honor, and immortality before God, daily and quiet persistence, faithfulness, and obedience is the road to get there. Anonymous sufferings are actually the best kind, Jesus tells us - otherwise, others might recognize us and compliment us and that alone, will be our reward (Matt 6:16-18). . . .

God never promises to remove all our trials this side of heaven - quite the contrary! - but he does promise that there is meaning in each one. Our character is being perfected, our faith is being built, our "heavenly reward" is being increased. . . .

Jesus never told use to erase our ambition. Jesus never said to shun all thought of rewards. He told us to turn from earthly ambition and to shun earthly rewards. . . . That's a trade, not a complete denial! That thirst for glory you feel in your heart is part of what makes you human - Jesus just wants us to focus it on heaven, looking for our rewards there. . . .

Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:17-18).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jesus is...uncommon

Have you ever paused to consider just how amazing Jesus is? Do you realize His uncommonness?

Uncommon:
1. rare - appearing or happening infrequently
2. very great - used to emphasize the great extent of something

A few uncommon characteristics I have noticed lately:

- Jesus chose you & me before the creation of the world to be His very own. "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world . . ." (Eph. 1.4).

- Jesus goes by one of our names, a name familiar & easy for us. Not some holy, other-worldly name (which would make more sense to me). ". . . you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins" (Mat. 1.21).

- Jesus intercedes with the Father on our behalf. "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" (Heb. 7.25).

- Jesus truly cares about the little details of my life. I mean, He really cares. He cares when I pray for a good deal before I walk into Goodwill. He cares when I am lonely at night when Bryce is gone. And he cares about my job situation. He cares and He has compassion. "He remembers that we are dust" (Ps. 103.14).

- Jesus wants to know me. The Creator of the world, the Savior of the world, and the Ruler of the world wants to know me. And He wants me to believe Him. "You are my witnesses . . . and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He" (Is. 43.10).

- Jesus rose from the dead. He physically, bodily, actually, genuinely rose from the dead. His old, decaying body was swallowed up in a new, glorious body. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him" (Mark 16.6).

Jesus is unlike any other (supposed) deity. (Why? See all of the above reasons. Plus a million more.) Is there any other god like Him? He is truly uncommon, rare, special, exceptional, excellent, and incomparable.

Amazed - Desperation Band

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

wednesday randomness

Yesterday, I realized around 2:00 p.m. that I was wearing a hideous outfit. Complete with an olive green crochet sweater, red shoes, and gray-blue fingernail polish. But, I wore it confidently. That's what counts, right? (And I'm wearing a much cuter outfit today to make up for it.)

Bryce and I were playing with a glue gun last week when we were putting together my necklace picture frame (okay...he was doing all of the work and I was trying to "help"). In my "helpfulness," I burned my finger really bad. A few moments ago, I realized that the lovely white bubble on the tip of my finger has fallen off, with a hard piece of skin where it used to be. Beware. There is a skin bubble laying around somewhere.

There will be project pictures and before/after house pictures at some point. Whenever we get a camera. The first year of our marriage is sadly lacking in pictures. I guess it's not the end of the world.

For those of you tracking with my work woes . . . I have a grand announcement: Today I received another attorney assignment. And I think she's going to have lots of projects for me. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about - just know that this is great news and an answer to prayer. Please keep praying that I'm allowed/find favor to stay with this arrangement.

There is an antique/junk/stuff store in Carmel that I went to during lunch today. I love it. So much random stuff. Lovely framed mirrors . . . that would be even lovelier with a little white spraypaint. Crazy lamps with good potential. Beautiful china pieces. Fun, old earrings. Random old & new kitchenware. Wonderful pieces of furniture (saw some rustic end tables for $35 apiece that would look great in our living room!). It took me a half hour just to walk through and look at everything. I didn't buy . . . yet.

Enough "wednesday randomness" from me.
Do you have anything to add to my collection of thoughts?
janalexis

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jesus is...a safe place

Do you have a safe place? Do you have somewhere safe to run to when all else seems scary, overwhelming, foreign, and too much to handle?

Humans have tried to create all sorts of "safe places" - spouses, private islands, bodyguards, home alarm systems, special friendships, meditation, church buildings, etc. And yet we are still haunted. "In this world you will have trouble..." (Jn 16.13).

safe - adjective
1. secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk
2. free from hurt, injury, danger, or risk
3. involving little or no risk of mishap, error, etc.
4. dependable or trustworthy
5. careful to avoid danger or controversy

Concerning definition #1, let me just make an observation: this is impossible in the world as we now know it. Which makes definition #2 also impossible. And #3 is pretty much impossible, too. I guess definition #5 is possible, but leads to a paranoid & fearful life.

What about definition #4: to be dependable or trustworthy? Proverbs 18 tells of such a person: "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." Note the capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D - this is Yahweh, the LORD of Lords! I know of no safer person. "He guided them safely, so they were unafraid" (Ps 73:53).

To be unafraid does not mean the absence of fearful things or scary people or a frightening world. It simply describes a soul guided safely by the LORD. Which makes me wonder if the above definitions are actually possible when we're talking about your soul in His hands. In Jesus, your soul is "secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk." Your soul is "free from hurt, injury, danger, or risk." Your soul is safe.

Jesus is a safe place.
Is He yours?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

current dislike

There is something I do not like: spilling coffee all over my lap and desk chair. Yes, I did that today. There are a few pluses to this unfortunate scenario: the coffee did not get on my computer; I did it at 3:30 p.m. and not first thing in the morning; I am wearing dark pants today; and the coffee was lukewarm. Two major minuses: spilled coffee stinks and I now have wet pants. Yum. Shucks.

To balance that out, here are a few things I currently love:
  • When Bryce and I stay up late just laughing, like last night. I love it when he makes me laugh.
  • I finished my jewelry frames: one for earrings and one for necklaces & bracelets. I discovered that I have over 70 pairs for earrings! And now I can see all of them!
  • Watching White Collar on Hulu.com. I'm sure enjoying that show.
  • When there is only 32 minutes left in the work day.
  • Fall is almost here!

That's all from me. Maybe deeper thoughts another day.
j-lex