Seeing Jesus

“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job 2:9b NKJV

It was like I’d never read those words before.

They impressed into my heart and mind and soul.

They sunk deep into me and are there still.

Here is a man who lost absolutely everything on Earth which seem so important.

Yet his walk with God is incredible:

“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

Maturity can turn a small child, who wants nothing more from life than to play and eat, into an adult who spends their waking hours in loving devoted service to others.

Spiritual maturity looks at God and states these words of Job.

I needed those words.

Life has become overwhelming of late.

My health, schedule, responsibilities, and duties have felt like a crushing burden these last few days.

Yet, as I continued to look to God for wisdom, guidance, and His plans I’ve found myself growing ever more weary.

Too tired to express, but these words of Job resonated into my soul.

He was a man of spiritual maturity.

I too want to live with the same maturity.

My heart simply looks to Jesus and asks Him to build the maturity in me.

My deepest desire is to trust God with such depth, the depth which can walk through any circumstance free from fear.

With these thoughts I went to sleep.

Some time in the middle of the night I had a dream.

I saw Jesus.

I fell at his feet and I kissed the nail scars.

I sobbed like a tiny child and clung to Him.

Before I knew what I was doing I was pouring out my heart.

“Jesus, I love you so much! I’m trying so hard to do everything right. I’m trying to serve You and to walk through everything with joy. But, oh, I am so weary! I can’t see clearly! I’m so very weary!”

And then as tears streamed down my face I clung to His ankles.

“Child, I have brought you help. You need be weary no longer.”

And then I realized there were other people all around, each busily moving about.

And I simply relaxed and lay at the feet of my Lord.

“Child, you never needed to worry, striving is useless. I have all these things in My hand.”

Jesus spoke these words just above my head, I could tell He had bent over to speak ever so softly to me.

And then…

I woke.

It was the middle of the night and my physical body still desired sleep, which I relinquished into, but my soul yearned to ponder.

I’m still pondering.

This dream was vivid, touchable.

My heart continues to wonder.

There is so much more than can be put into words.

Expectation is ripe, as I walk into the Word of God looking for truth.

I’m eager to reread the accounts of others who saw Jesus.

But, this has left my heart renewed.

My physical body may be weary,

but my mind has peace.

And it took only one thing:

Seeing Jesus

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An every Sunday Easter lesson

(This is a guest post from our Anne.)

When I was little my family faithfully took me and my siblings to church both Saturday night and Sunday morning.

I would go to the nursery and be minded by “my bestfriend”.

She is a wonderful lady and she taught me several things.

She would say, “Jesus and I love you this much”.

Then she would stand and spread her arms far apart.

As far as they could go.

As a response I would do the same thing back to her.

“I love you this much!”

When I got older I realized the point she was making.

Jesus loves me so much that He

spread His arms

in the most painful way.

His arms were stretched and nailed.

He accepted the World’s sin,

mine included.

He spread His arms in the most painful way,

so I don’t have to.

And

He rose

again!

…without works…

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26 NKJV

These words penned by James, leader of the church in Jerusalem, brother of Jesus, are the final nails in the fallacy that faith was separate from fruit.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18 NKJV

It is clear, there is no separation.

Faith produces fruit.

The lives of those who walk daily, moment by moment with Jesus produce fruit.

Their words, their actions, their very attitudes and perspectives all reflect their faith.

We know this by the disciples.

Their lives change so dramatically.

Reading the Gospels you see men who are striving to learn faith.

Reading Acts about the same men, there is no question of their faith.

Peter is a preacher who leads thousands to Jesus.

Peter and the apostles are imprisoned by the High Priest and Sadducees.

They are released by an angel of the Lord and when they are instructed:

“Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of life.” Acts 5:20 NKJV

They go.

They realize they need others to help in the ministry and appoint seven men to see to the physical needs of the church.

Persecution becomes deadly.

One of the seven, Stephen, is stoned.

James was beheaded.

This doesn’t hinder their faith.

Peter travels.

Church history tells us the other disciples also traveled bringing the Gospel to more and more people.

The story of their faith ripples into history growing larger and farther as more come to Jesus.

Truly, the disciples had faith which bore much fruit.

Their faith was evident in their works.

Ours needs to be as well.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for the example of these men of faith. Please help me to live my faith by my works: my words, my thoughts, my actions, and my attitudes. Jesus, I am Your servant and I want to share the Gospel wherever I am, yet often I’m unsure how. Please help me to have discernment and Your Holy Spirit to guide me. Help me to hide Your Word in my heart that I might be filled with Your thoughts, Your example, Your perspective. I want my faith to be alive. Please teach me how to have a life lived in faith with works.

The mirror

I love these tulips.

It doesn’t take long for people to realize I love flowers and pink is my favorite color.

I don’t wear it constantly, but I’m not quiet about my preference.

Some things about myself are so easy to see.

Other things are more complicated.

Infact the Lord used a tiny passing moment to teach me this week.

I’d been at work and when I walked in the house, one of my kids looked at me and asked something I hadn’t expected.

“What is on your face?”

Before I could respond or look in a mirror another child answered for me.

“It’s a pimple.”

“Oh”

Then both went back to their studies.

I went to find a mirror.

It was the next day when the moment returned to my mind and then I thought of a Veggie Tales show where Queen Blueberry is trying to manipulate her circumstances.

An evil mirror keeps encouraging her to wrong those around her all the while manipulating her for his own purposes.

One of the things which happens in the story reveals a wonderful truth.

As the queen wrongs others her outward appearance reflects the ugliness of her heart.

She’s covered in pimples, as well as other unbecoming facial things, yet the wicked mirror shows her getting more and more lovely.

It’s an excellent lesson.

When we choose to live for ourselves,

when we use those around us,

our hearts are being marred.

Yet, when walking in those things it is often with blindness.

To see ourselves outwardly we need a mirror.

To see ourselves inwardly we need Jesus and His Word.

Just like I was unaware of the blemish on my face, I have been unaware of blemishes on my character.

It has taken Christ to reveal my heart.

Often, He uses the difficult things in my life as a reflection of my heart.

Then He draws me to His Word that the blemish might be removed.

Jesus has shown me so many things about my heart in these months.

And He isn’t finished.

And I’m so thankful for the mirror.

I’d much rather Jesus show me my faults and failings than for me to walk in pride and haughtiness.

There’s even an example in scripture of a life of pride.

Jezebel.

She had manipulation down to a fine art.

Yet it cost her everything she was trying to hold on to.

If only she had paid attention to the inward beauty and learned to be humble, gentle, and loving.

I never want to be Jezebel.

Praise God for His mercy and patience.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

Thank You, Jesus for the mirror.

Thankful for my asthma

Here we are!

At track.

Our good friend stood on Bell’s blocks for her.

Both meets he’s done it for the 400.

Bell likes me to be at the finish line and Daddy at the second corner, so it was great to have another to weight down her blocks.

And God really blessed her.

She was sick yesterday, but was still able to win both the 400 and the 200.

I was blessed to see her give it her all even though she was feeling awful.

The day held special blessings for our girl.

Even an enormous answer for Bell and our prayers for direction.

The biggest surprise was what happened between races.

Bell and I were standing near the 200 start line.

I had been helping her stretch out and the 800 girls went by.

We watched although none were familiar.

The main group passed and we casually discussed the runners and their individual techniques.

When another runner came up.

She was way behind and obviously in pain.

Instantly, Bell shouted encouragement.

We watched her pass the first corner and then collapse into the grass on the second.

Bell ran over to her and I watched and prayed.

People were busy about the girl and it didn’t take but a few moments for two people on her team to sprint away toward the bleachers.

It was scary to watch, but I knew the Lord was there.

Eventually things seemed to improve and she was helped up and left.

Bell walked back over.

“What was it? Is she going to be alright?”

“Yeah, it was an asthma attack. But I was able to help her get calmed down and to stop panicking. Cause, you know, it doesn’t help anything. They got her inhaler and she’s going to be fine.”

“Oh, wow!”

“Yeah, she kept saying she didn’t finish and I offered to walk her down the track so she could but she decided not to.”

And that was all.

Bell was sad for her.

I could tell she felt for the other runner.

Since Bell was running again soon our attention went back to duties.

Yet upon reflection I found myself choked up.

Bell knew exactly what to do and what was happening with the runner because of my asthma.

I didn’t realize when we walked into the meet I’d be thankful for my asthma.

Yet, I am.

God used our struggles to help someone else.

Which is so very much

Who He is.

What the enemy means for evil,

God uses for good.

Jesus has used it in so many ways.

He has taught us to focus on what really is eternal.

He has used it to bind us closer together.

And yesterday He helped a girl we don’t even know.

But Jesus knows her and I feel so thankful He choose to use our Bell to help her.

And in it all we can glorify the Father.

What an amazing God

He is.

When the night gets longer

This is my wonderful hubby.

When the big storm hit he worked tirelessly to be sure our home was protected.

He also drove back and forth to work making sure his co-workers were doing well and things were getting covered.

Last Thursday evening he was called back into the plant after working a long day.

He didn’t get home till about 1 am.

After working 11 days straight and part of the night shift he was able to get three days off.

Last evening he called me.

He hadn’t made it home yet and he needed to head back to work.

Around 10 pm he called again to tell me not to wait up, but he should only be an hour longer.

I woke many times after going to bed and prayed for him as he wasn’t home yet.

When he did make it in he said it was about 3, and for me to go back to sleep.

He was asleep in a few moments, but I lay awake praying for a while.

The next 3 hours of sleep were broken by my asthma.

It hasn’t happened in weeks, but this early morning I woke us both, more than once.

Yet, when I accidentally knocked something to the floor while dressing my husband didn’t growl.

He got up and wished me a “good night”, kissed me and went back to bed.

It wasn’t until I was getting my breakfast that I really saw his text from last night.

“The night just got longer”

No complaints.

No self-pity.

Nothing but facts.

And as grueling as my hubby’s job can be, we both are very thankful for it.

Many a time I’ve heard him say, “Praise God for my employer.”

It causes me to smile up at Jesus.

The Lord is the One who has provided all we have, including our jobs.

Therefore whatever the job requires is a blessing.

And we both want to give glory to the Lord!

Even when the night gets longer.

Swaddling

Something incredible.

My heart learned another meaning to falling in love yesterday.

Watching my husband hold our granddaughter.

There is something so precious about a big strong man being gentlesoft.

Again I praised God for the man I call husband.

And to add to the lesson…

Watching our son-in-law serve our daughter,

get meals,

change diapers,

and tenderly carry his newborn,

were heart-melting moments.

The drive home continued to replay the beautiful hours we spent together.

The joys of watching our other daughters and our son tenderly holding baby Faith.

Words do little to describe the heart.

And after all of this I realized anew my need for God.

Because I am an adult there are times I think I’m independent and able to care for myself.

The truth is…

I am even more helpless than baby Faith.

Whenever I try to accomplish anything in my own strength I end up looking like a startled baby; arms outstretched, crying from fear.

To comfort a newborn they need to be wrapped or swaddled so they feel safe.

That has been my prayer this morning.

I want to be swaddled and tucked up on my Heavenly Father’s arm.

I want to feel the comfort and protection I know He has always provided.

I want to be free from the false idea that I can do anything on my own.

Because there’s no peace or joy in striving in one’s own strength.

There’s no security or even truth in “I did it myself!”.

True peace is found only in complete trust.

And just as Faith slept peacefully upon her grandfather and father, I can walk with peace today.

God is faithful.

He is my Father.

I will fear no evil.

I will rest in His will this day.