Friday, November 1, 2013

Is Jesus Christ God?


There is much debate and confusion regarding the identity of Jesus Christ. This confusion is not limited to nonbelievers, but extends to Christians as well. Was Jesus a prophet? Was He the messiah? Was He God Himself? Let's look at a couple scriptures and attempt a clear answer to the question- Is Jesus Christ God?

After leaving Egypt, Moses is in the desert and sees a bush consumed with fire but not burned. From the bush, God Almighty instructs him to return to Egypt and free His people- the Israelites.

'Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ Exodus 3:13-15

Here, God proclaims His unique name to Moses. God calls Himself 'I AM.'

Now let's go to the book of John, written by the Apostle John; the same John who wrote 1,2,3 John, and The Revelation of Jesus Christ. In Chapter 8, Jesus is questioned about who He is. He responds with an interesting statement:

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." John 8:56-58

Here Jesus gives Himself God's name. The name given to Moses in the desert- I AM. The Jews reacted to this proclamation strongly by attempting to stone Jesus (verse 59).

Is believing that Jesus is God required for salvation? Let's look again at John chapter 8.

Starting in verse 24, Jesus says, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

The listeners respond by asking "Who are You?"

And Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning…  when you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He…" John 8:24-28.

In verses 24, and 28, we see the words 'I am He.' However, the word He is italicized, which means it has been added and is not in the original language. What Jesus actually said in these two verses was "I AM." Jesus calls Himself God, and tells them that unless they believe Him to be God, they will die in their sins. This leaves us with the obvious answer- Yes, believing that Jesus is God is required for salvation.

How do His hearers respond to this? Did they understand the significance of His statement? We see their response clearly in John 8:59: 'they took up stones to throw at Him.'

Let's look at another usage of this Name by Jesus.

In John chapter 18, 'a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees [show up] with lanterns, torches, and weapons.'

'Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, “I am He. 

Again, the word He has been added. How did the troops bearing weapons respond?

Now when He said to them, “I am He,they drew back and fell to the ground.

Had Jesus simply stated, Yes I am Jesus of Nazareth, would the entire fleet of troops had fallen to the ground? Why did they fall to the ground? Because Jesus called Himself God. Because Jesus proclaimed to be the I AM.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For it is written:
As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God."

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name
 which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Did Jesus' disciples believe He was God? We find an answer in the book of John. (Don't you just love John? That man had a clear message to share with us!) After Jesus died on the cross, and then rose from the dead, we find Thomas, one of Jesus' twelve disciples doubting the resurrection.
"Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)
Eight days later, Jesus shows up, and says to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus did not rebuke Thomas. Jesus did not correct Thomas. Instead Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Jesus proclaimed to be God, and His disciples believed Him to be God. Is it enough to simply believe Him to be a prophet? Can we merely accept Him as a great teacher or even the Son of God, and not believe Him to be God Almighty? C.S. Lewis offers an answer better than any I've heard.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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Friday, September 6, 2013

RED {Five Minute Friday}


She gazes at the crisp white sheet as if the rest of her life depends on the next twenty minutes. Her heart is heavy and self expectation high- too high. It's a simple math test. She knows all the concepts.

What she fears more than anything is my response. What will the teacher's red marks reveal? Do they tell her she's approved? Accepted? Rejected? Stupid? Unable? Not good enough?

She misses a minor step here, and forgets a label there. I attempt to put small check marks with a bright red pen, hoping she will receive it as a learning opportunity. Not a reason to doubt. But the tears come and the insecurities take over. She didn't get 100%. She's not good enough. She's less than perfect.

I guide her to another red. There's this crimson red blood offering freedom through words of red. Red inscriptions from the Good Teacher. Marks and letters, messages written in scarlet speaking the only truth. The one truth she must regard more than anything; more than my plastic ball-point-pen could ever speak.

He says it simply and profoundly:
Come to Me. I will give you rest. Learn from Me. I am gentle. You will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy. My burden is light. Follow me.

That's all He requires. That's all He expects. That's all He asks. Come to Him. He expects no perfection, just holy intention. He knows your weakness, struggles, shortcoming, and insecurities. He's created you for good works and written it all in RED.


Joining hundreds of Jesus lovers who just write, not worrying if it's just right or not over at Lisa-Jo's space. This week's prompt- RED.


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Friday, August 16, 2013

Small {Five Minute Friday}


Sometimes the day drags on and I find myself doing nothing more than entertaining or being entertained.  Friends on Facebook are cooking and canning and cleaning and making schedules and checking off items on their to-do list. Me? I'm trying to decide at 7:30pm what in the world we will have for dinner. I need to be more like them.

Then she calls and says those words to me- "my son thinks your family is the standard. He thinks he should have just as much time on the video games each day as your son." And I'm feeling even smaller than I was a minute ago.

I sit with a friend on my deck. We sit out here because inside the house is plastic and plaster and wet paint and too much reconstruction. I wanted to tell her not to even bother- please choose another day. But this couldn't wait. She is more important than my mess and she really doesn't even care what the house looks like. Or if I have cabinets sitting on the floor waiting to be installed and groceries on tables covered by sheets. What she needs is a listening ear and a prayerful friend. What she needs is a repentant daughter and a God that saves to the uttermost.

And my small heart is undergoing a little reconstruction of its own.

Today we celebrate sixteen years of marriage. Sixteen years! It feels huge to me, but then I see those other women and how they've survived unspeakable battles and decades of motherhood and married life, and my story seems small and insignificant again. It's only sixteen years.

But, it is our sixteen years. And we are headed away for the weekend to enjoy a break, to enjoy each other, to escape a half-finished kitchen, and remind ourselves of the small things- the things that keep us going and keep us looking up. Happy 16th Anniversary to my best friend!



(Writing today with the community at Lisa-Jo's where we love to just write without worrying if it's just right or not. Set the timer for five minutes and write on this prompt- Small. Then come share with us.)



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Your Life is Over- MY STORY



Using the mall restroom has never been the same. Not since that day in June of 1997; three days out of high school and barely eighteen. The instructions said results would take a few minutes, but those bright lines gave no breathing room. Instantly they screamed the truth I refused to believe- your. life. is. over. 

And then it was THAT LADY. The one dressed in fancy clothes voicing my options and encouraging me to take the easy way out. She was the professional; she knew more than me. Consumed by the unknown, my head spinning in a fog, baring nothing but worldly wisdom, confusion, and dread, it happened.  

Perched side by side, eyes piercing the wood planks of my bedroom wall, it was time to have our first real conversation. Neither wanted to accept it. Neither knew how to address the issue that would forever change our lives. I attempted strength, but strained voice and dampened cheeks betrayed me almost instantly:

“James, I’m pregnant.”

“Well, you know what I want to do.”

I dreaded hearing what he’d want to do. I feared the worst- termination. But he threw me completely off my already unstable foundation.

“I want to get married.”

Married? Did he really just say THAT word? He wants to marry ME? We’d barely been together six months!

Six months. Half a year. Hardly enough time to talk futures and expectations. He was the sweet one- the type your girlfriends confide in; the one they called 'teddy bear' and shared struggles with. This was the guy I asked to prom on a foolish, drunk dare. The guy I never imagined would be father of my child; wearer of my ring. It was all so far from romantic.


A simple country wedding in a small A-frame church. Wearing hair plastered high and a deceptive white gown, I slowly treaded that shag red carpet. We stood eye to eye- me in satin slippers, he in shiny rented shoes. His uncle recited the words- words heard wedding after wedding:

          "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him… Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh… Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate… And I now pronounce you husband and wife…" (Genesis 2:18,24, Mark 10:9 NKJV)

We made promises to each other and to a God we didn't know. We danced to country love songs, feasted on homemade dishes, and opened Tupperware, cookware, silverware, and glassware. It was all so surreal and sudden. It was all so necessary in the mind of an eighteen-year-old, because when you get yourself pregnant, wedding bells are expected and inevitable.  I did things wrong, and I would make them right.

On August 16th, 1997 the wayward Jehovah’s Witness, and the naïve people-pleasing-teen walked down that isle, exchanged overpriced rings and meaningless vows, then attempted to play ‘the happy married couple with a bald, yet beautiful new baby.’ Most mocked and questioned our future.


Have you any clue what a stubborn teen does when doubted and ridiculed? She fights back and she fights hard. Once a carefree, vibrant, loving-my-life-teenager, now a married mommy coping unsuccessfully with fat rolls, dirty dishes, piles of soiled-puked-on-laundry, and a husband I barely knew. I refused to be the next statistic. However, as desperate as I was to prove them all wrong, my good intentions were nothing more than exhausting failures.

AND IN MY WEAKNESS, HE IS STRONG. AND IN MY FAILURE HE IS GLORIFIED. AND IN MY DOUBT, HE IS FAITHFUL. AND IN MY DESPERATION, HE IS DESPERATE FOR ME. MY GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD!

He used faith full followers to reveal a faithful Father. He turned an unwanted pregnancy into a welcome eye-opener. This Mommy heart was head-over-heels, smitten, infatuated by a babe who could do little more than eat, sleep, and need me. Through soiled diapers and sleepless nights, He showed me the affection of a Savior toward imperfect children. It was in the ugly, the dirty, the difficult that I saw a beauty full God.

I was given a Bible and an invitation to fellowship. It was a tiny body with wide open doors and even larger hearts. I was drawn to women having something I didn't; something I craved. They were lights illuminating the way to the only One who could right my wrongs: Jesus Christ.

He beckoned me. He lavished me with His presence exposing sin and offering grace. He was patient, yet persistent. He washed me in His Word, in His blood, and in His overwhelming love. He led me to repentance and to prayer: prayer for forgiveness, for my daughter, and for my Jehovah's Witness husband.  And then He called my husband to Himself; to the true Jehovah God, and the living Jesus Christ.

          "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear." (1Peter 3:1-2 NKJV)

In 16 years of marriage, we’ve experienced uncertainty as our time as missionaries expired, doubt as foster children happily returned to bio-parents, and fear when our home schooled kiddos were thrown to the wolves. We’ve had seasons of fruit, and seasons of drought. We’ve known abundant blessing and sudden loss. We’ve stood strong and fallen weak. Through it all, one thing has remained- WE. We are His, we are each others, we are vessels, and we are a work in progress.

The question was no longer- What good could possibly come from a wayward Jehovah’s Witness and his naïve-people-pleasing wife, but rather- What would God do with the willing heart of weak vessels?

Your. life. is. over. I may have been young and lost in a world of apprehension. I may have been over dramatic and self focused, but those words rang truer than I could have ever known.

My. life. was. over. Because He was calling me into death and offering New Life. A life of surrender. A life of love. A life of service. A life of blessing with my best friend and husband.

Not approving of my choices, He approved of me. Despite His hatred for my rebellion, He adopted, redeemed, saved, and sealed me with His Holy Spirit. I am His, and I choose to honor Him with my life and my story; His story.


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal Son



A Prince was born and it's all over the news. It's captivated America and taken over media headlines.  He's third in line to the throne. His future holds titles and responsibilities: Son of a Duchess, Head of State over numerous nations, Supreme Governor of an entire country's church. Just days old and his future is planned. No questions asked. No earning the titles or losing the status. This Prince was birthed into it like you are birthed into air. It's in His blood. Royalty.

And countless mothers stare in awe at this Majestic Mama- What must it be like- to be her- to birth him. How will she raise him? Will she participate in his schooling? Will she use positive discipline, behavior modification, emotion coaching, or just a royal butt woopin? Will she make him meals or teach table etiquette? Will she share her faith and train him in God's Word and ways? Will they read bedtime stories together and bend the knee to pray each night? Will he call her Mom, Princess, Duchess, Madam?
                                                                                 
What a mighty responsibility.

It all seems like a fairytale and we're thankful it's her story, yet we crave the happy ending; the once upon a time beginning. We exhale with thanksgiving that the expectation's on her, not us. The eyes of the world look and watch, question and consider. He's a Prince and she's his Royal Mother.

But what I may not know, what I might have forgotten, what this Mama is reflecting on today- I'm royal too. My son, he's not just any boy. He's the child of a King. Son of a princess. His future is written in stone- his works fashioned before time began. I bore this boy through water, and God bore him again in the Spirit (John 3:5).

I coddled, cleansed, and kept him safe. I prayed with him. I interceded for him. I taught him grammar, math, manners, and a myriad of dos and don'ts. I've appealed to him with bribes, and beaten him with rods. I've rubbed his back, tickled his pits, and giggled over toots and poop and life's mysterious sounds. And smells.







More than 6,000,000 minutes in my care. Over 4,000 days under my responsibility. 12 years for me to show him love. To teach him truth. To lead him to Jesus. And watch Jesus have His way with a boy named Joseph.

My son is a prince and an heir to the throne. God's throne. An eternal throne. Once upon a time, twelve years ago, he was born. And he will live happily ever after in the presence of God and the hands of his Savior. And what happens in between? This royal Mama lavishes him with affection and dramatic adoration. She corrects him and cries with him, while the Author fills in the gaps. Gaps only He can perfect. Making wrongs right and walking a prince to the door of His courts.

He shaped his inwards parts and covered him in my very womb. That tiny frame was never hidden from God when he was made in secret, skillfully wrought by the Master Maker. His substance was seen before that little face was ever formed. And there's a book. A book containing all his days; fashioned for him when as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:13-16). The words within speak of my son- that he's of a chosen generation, of a holy nation. Yes, even a royal priesthood! That he's a special person (1 Peter 2:9). Yes, that's my boy. No earning the title or losing the status. My prince was birthed into it like you are birthed into air. It's in His blood. It's through His blood. It's a Royal Blood-Line and an eternal Life-line.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Belong {Five Minute Friday}




From the big city to to country living. I didn't belong and they put spotted owls in my locker- making sure I knew it.

From heathen background to country church. I belonged to no one but my foolish ways and sinful flesh. They welcomed me and made me theirs. Then His.

From homeland to foreign land. My skin was white and theirs was not. We stuck out and we struck out learning the language and taking chances. But He sent us there and we were about His business; Beautiful Business.

We returned to our home, but something was just not right. Something was different. We were different. And again, we just didn't belong.

Home schooled kids feel left out and alone. They don't belong because this- this is not the way of things. This is the way of shelter children and the 'un 'un-socialized.' But He surrounded us with others who didn't belong, and finally we found our nitch.

Babies that didn't belong at home because drugs and addiction kept mom from showing love. They came to our home. They slept in our rooms, ate from our table, sat in our laps, laughed at our jokes, lived in our lives, fellowshipped in our church, learned about our God. But they didn't belong because their hearts yearned for home.

And none of us really belong because this a temporary place. We long to fit in and we long to be longed for. And on that day, we will belong, dear one.

WE. WILL. BELONG.

(Writing today with the community at Lisa-Jo's where we love to just write without worrying if it's just right or not. Set the timer for five minutes and write on this prompt- Belong. Then come share with us.)


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Beauty-full Business


I expect the beauty to be in the finished product. After you've scraped the popcorn from above, and torn down walls from places uninvited. After the new paint is rolled on, and the shiny counter tops glisten brand new.

I expect the beauty to be seen in the healthy, happy life of marriage and family. When all is well and all are laughing. These things- they are good.

But I saw the beauty in the midst of the ugly. I saw one after another come into that hospital. Into the cold, stale, stench of sickness. They came, they prayed, they anointed, they blessed. This is the work of a beautiful God in an ugly world. And He's at work all around. All the time.

I see the beauty of tearing down walls and scraping old mud. Breaking through layers and layers of colors and years. There's a story behind each one. Many stories. Each one beautiful, because even in the trials and storms, difficulties, and take-my-breath-away failures, He is beautifying His people.


Whether it's plowing into drywall, or plowing into my comfortable little life with plans supposing to go just so, beauty is within and beneath the plastic paint and layers of cover-ups. And sometimes He allows us to be broken up a little or a lot. Either way, there's beauty in there. And this is His business. This is Beauty-full business.

(Writing today with the community at Lisa-Jo's where we love to just write without worrying if it's just right or not. Set the timer for five minutes and write on this prompt- Beautiful. Then come share with us.)



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Saturday, June 22, 2013

DIY Custom Wall Art- 10 Easy Steps

Once in a while I get all inspired and form crazy creative ideas of being talented and artistic. To be honest, my siblings are incredibly creative and clever. Me, not so much. However, I'm a pretty quick learner J

 So, I began my Saturday DIY living room photo project. And here begins the start of an ongoing living-room-kitchen-make-over. And isn't that what summer breaks are for?



Step 1-
Go to San Francisco and take too many photos of the Golden Gate Bridge than any person could ever use or want. Ok, you can skip this step, but we were there, so I utilized the opportunity.

Step 2-
Purchase/gather supplies:
Foam Insulation Board from either Lowes or Home Depot
Elmer's Spray Adhesive
Acrylic Paint (I used black) and Paint Brush
Duct Tape and Twine (for hanging)



Step 3-
Choose that perfect photo and turn it black & white. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements. Once you've cropped and edited, go to Staples.com and choose Engineer Prints. (It's important to decide what size you want your finished print to be before the editing process.) My local Staples offers these prints in 18"x24", 24"x36", and 36"x48".  I chose 36"x48", downloaded my print, and picked it up just a few hours later.



Step 4-
Cut your foam board to fit your large print using a utility knife. I cut it slightly smaller than my print so I could wrap the print around the sides of the board, leaving crisp, clean edges.

Step 5-
Remove the sticker from the front of your foam board and spray, spray, spray. Use lots of spray glue to ensure a secure bond.

Step 6-
Now this is the tricky/difficult part. Carefully lay your print on your sticky foam board and press all bubbles and wrinkles out.

Step 7-
Spray the edges of your board and wrap each side, pulling as tightly as possible to get that crisp edge.  I then put Duct Tape around the edges to ensure years of security J

Step 8-
Using your acrylics, paint the edges of your photo. You can paint around the side edges only, or bring the paint to the front as well to give it a fun, less crisp look. I used black, but any color would add character to your photo.

 

















Step 9-
After the paint is dry, flip your photo over. Now make your beautiful portrait ready to display by using your twine and duct tape. Use lots of tape so your twine doesn't slip out.


Step 10-
Flaunt your enormous wall hanging for all to enjoy J


This is the first one I made for display in my classroom. You can see I brought the black paint onto the front of the photo, giving it more character. 




These were made by printing color 8½" x 11" photos from my home printer.



This is next on the DIY list! The docks of San Francisco with Alcatraz in the background.



Do you have a DIY project to share? Would you leave your link here for us? Thanks for visiting!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shedding Tears and Sin {Five Minute Friday}

Lisa-Jo offers the challenge week after week: take a measly five minutes and write. No over thinking, no backtracking, no ‘wait, that’s not spiritual enough, and I can’t share that in cyber city’ mentality. Only writing. Writing for five minutes and risking the outcome. {and don’t forget to spend some time commenting on the post of the person who linked up just before you.}

This week's prompt- Rhythm

GO

It's been a week of exhaustion and exaltation. We've welcomed little ones and walked them right up to that cross. They drew a little picture, wrote their name on that print, and marched one after another. "Jesus is calling you by name." I tell her. She looks at me, eyes wide and full of wonder. "He loves you and He wants to wash away your sin. Put that sin right there on that cross. Right there where Jesus' blood poured out."






And I see the tears. This isn't a game to her. She knows she's a sinner and she knows Jesus is here. Now. I hug her and she walks away.

They come one after another. "Jesus loves you so much, and He's calling you by your name." I fear it's too repetitive, but I know the words are true. The first time and the hundredth time. And the words aren't my own but they are life and they come from the Life Giver.

One after another. Coming to the cross and shedding the tears and the sins and the life they lived this morning in their living rooms and at their kitchen tables with Mom and Dad and neighbors who watch from across the way.



It's more than words. It's the rhythm of a Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit working through the heart of servants.

STOP

It's been an emotional experience of Vacation Bible School at our church this week. Would you pray for God's little ones tomorrow? And for His big one's sharing Christ's love, forgiveness, and merciful grace? Their hearts are raw and ready. And Jesus is calling each one by name.



Now head over to The Gypsy Mama's site to visit other 'Five Minute Fridayers.' Be amazed at where one word can take a community of writers and Jesus lovers, and leave some encouraging feedback. Most importantly, it's your turn, go fall onto a chair, and let your thoughts fall into a keyboard. Then share them with us. 






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