Story Time-Where Are Those Gloves?

Where I live, we are going to have a big cold front come through dropping our temperatures from 68f/20c today to 34f/1c tomorrow, so it is time for my annual game of-Where Are Those Gloves?

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Those sneaky gloves like to play hide and seek with me. Some years they are so good at it that I end up buying another pair of gloves and when I do, that’s when the old pair of gloves suddenly reappears. My search today will probably result in me going to buy another pair anyway.

My Lord of the Rings hoodie is ready to go. I washed it the other day, but I think I may need to wash some sweaters today. I don’t break out the winter coat until it is much colder than it will be tomorrow. I still have that coat I bought several years ago that has a rip in the side. We will wait and see if I need another one.

Back to those sneaky gloves. I have a feeling they might have been hiding in my old van that I had towed away. But I will look around one more time. If I find them, I will rejoice because that will mean I won’t need to go shopping. If I do find them, I will update you so you can rejoice with me. 🙂

Jesus talked about the joy a person has in finding lost things in Luke 15 and used that to share about how angels rejoice when one person comes to know Jesus.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Christmas- Angels Amazed

Several years ago I wrote a drama monologue from the perspective of the angel Gabriel and what he must have thought to see Jesus born as a baby. The piece began with Gabriel looking down at the manger and then coming down to check it out and being stunned by the scene. Think about the angels who had served Jesus since He created them. They had not only served Him over the centuries, but had also seen Jesus in His glory in heaven. They had seen Him as He really is in the fullness of His glory.

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The bible says in I Peter 1:12 that the angels long to look into things pertaining to our salvation. They long to understand God’s love for us and to comprehend the plan of God. I think about how the angels must be amazed by God’s love for us especially since they have never sinned against God. How they must be in wonder over the love God has for us.

Then ponder the fact that the angels who had worshiped Jesus for countless eons, witnessed Him being born as a human baby. Jesus was sent by the Father because as the bible says in John 3;16, “For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” How they must have marveled at the sight of Jesus the Son of God laying in a manger which was a feeding trough for animals. One day Jesus was on His throne in heaven and nine months later He was a newborn human baby  in a stable surrounded by animals. It is incredible enough for us to ponder, but think about the angels who knew Him in all of His glory in heaven. No wonder the bible says they long to look into the things pertaining to our salvation.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Power Through or Power Nap?

The past two Fridays, I realized I needed to choose between powering through fatigue or taking a power nap. Realizing what I do with my Fridays can affect my Saturdays is on my mind each Friday.

Living with chronic illness means living with the reality of fatigue and limited energy.

On the last Friday in February, I hung out at a coffee shop all afternoon and evening. I talked with some people there, checked my blog, chatted online with friends in various countries, and had my lunch and dinner there. The result was that last Saturday I was wiped out.

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Yesterday I came home after meeting someone at a coffee shop for one hour after my morning class. I did a few things and then it was time for a nap. It wasn’t the quick 15 minute or so nap. It was a three hour power nap.

I did so because this morning I have three appointments at my church. First I will meet with my friend from Bosnia, Then I will meet with a young man from Congo who wants help with the TOEFL test, (Test Of English Foreign Language), and then meet a friend from Mexico.

I used to feel a bit guilty about taking care of myself physically through power naps. It felt as thought I was being lazy. But God knows our physical bodies need rest. When Elijah was worn out, he fell asleep under a tree. 1 Kings 19:

“Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

God’s response through the angel was to feed Elijah and let him sleep some more and then feed him again. God did not call Elijah lazy for needing rest.

So a power nap it was for me yesterday. What are things you do to take care of yourself?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Sparklers in the Apartment?

I was in Constanta Romania for Christmas and New Years December 2005/January 2006. I went there to help them with their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services among other things.

I was invited to a New Years party at the home of a family from the church. They lived in a 3 bedroom apartment. It was a fun evening of games, food, and friendship. When midnight came, we said La Multi Ani, one more year, to each other and then they lit sparklers in the apartment. You know the sparklers used for the 4th of July?

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When they lit them, at first I was concerned about fire safety. An image of a burning inferno crossed my mind. In the U.S., we would hopefully never light sparklers inside. But then I remembered something. Most of the apartment buildings in Romania have cement floors, walls, etc. A fire could not spread from one room to another or one apartment to another. So I joined in with the festivities.

It has been my privilege to join in celebrations in many cultures. Celebrations are a time of joy whether for a holiday, a wedding, a birthday, or a graduation.

Did you know that the angels in heaven celebrate whenever someone comes to know Jesus? In Luke 15, yes the chapter with the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus said:

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When someone comes to know Jesus, the angels rejoice because it means a new member of the family similar to when a couple has a new baby and friends and family rejoice.

So next time we don’t feel worthy, or feel lost and overlooked, remember that if you have Jesus, heaven rejoices over you. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

3 Magi and Shepherds Visited But There Is A Contrast

God does not feel the need to do things the way we would plan it out. The birth of Jesus and the events and interactions surrounding it are a prime example. There is a big contrast between two groups of visitors to the baby Jesus, the Magi and the Shepherds.

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If we were to plan the announcement of the birth of the Son of God, we would line up the press, get it on youtube live, snap chat, twitter, with media there and of course heads of state.

When the Magi came, they followed a star. They had no announcement other than the star. When they arrived, they had to ask where the baby was. God did not send a messenger to them. It was a mystery they had to find their way in.

The shepherds had no idea about anything. A new blogger I follow lakeside4jesus.wordpress.com wrote an excellent post about the shepherds- Let’s Go. He delves into what it meant to be a shepherd. I suggest reading his post.

Shepherds were at the bottom of society and looked down on. They were the ones an angel and then a heavenly choir of angels appeared to to announce the birth of Jesus. The angel even told them exactly how to find the baby Jesus.

In some countries, January 6th is an important day. That is the day they exchange gifts. It is 3 Kings Day which is the day to remember the 3 kings, or magi, visiting Jesus and presenting gifts.

Yet I would suggest remembering the shepherds is important because of what it represents for us. God sending the angels to the shepherds shows that Jesus is for all people. God loves all people equally. No one is overlooked by God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Rescue by Lauren Daigle

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true,

I will rescue you

When I first heard Rescue by Lauren Daigle, so may thoughts flooded in my mind. I related to the song in so many ways.

As the son of an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother, the lyric-“Your innocence stolen” spoke to me. For those of us who have experienced abuse of any kind, our innocence is stolen from us.

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As someone who lives with chronic illness and depression, the lyric-“Though you have been broken” speak to me. Anyone who struggles with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue understand feeling hopeless. Anyone who live with chronic illness certainly understands feeling broken.

I love the lyric- “I hear you whisper underneath your breath. I hear you SOS.” I will never forget the times I could barely whisper a prayer and how Jesus came to me.

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I love this song because the focus is not on being broken and staying broken. The focus is on how Jesus will come to us. He will do whatever needs to be done to reach us. He will come to us. He will send his angels. He will rescue us.

Think about it. If Jesus loved us so much that he left heaven to come die for us, certainly he will pursue us to rescue us. 🙂

A Toy Car Reminds Me of Jesus’s Teaching?

Saturday mornings I teach a friend from Brazil some beginning English. She comes bringing her little boy with her and he plays with his toys while we study. He loves to bring his toy cars with him. Last Saturday, he forgot one of his toy cars.

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I messaged my student to let her know I had the car and would bring it today. Her son might have thought his prized possession was lost. I remember when I was his age how important my matchbox cars were to me. 🙂

If I had not found it and messaged right away last Saturday, he might have searched for it thinking it was lost.

Jesus taught about things that were lost to explain a spiritual truth for us in Luke 15. He started with a parable-story- about a man who lost a sheep and searched for it, When he found the lost sheep he invited his friends to rejoice with him.

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Then he talked about a woman who lost a coin and when she found it she asked her friends to rejoice with her that she found the coin.

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The famous part is about the Prodigal Son who left his father’s home, wasted his life with a party lifestyle, and returned home. The father celebrated his son’s return hugging him and ordering a feast celebration. The father’s emotional reaction to seeing his son again and powerful.

Kind of like the reunion videos we see of returning military being reunited with loved ones filled with hugs and tears.

Jesus shared something about what happens in heaven when one person comes to know him.

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

When anyone comes to Jesus, heaven rejoices, I envision high fives, joy filled laughter and smiles, and clapping.

The three stories share the themes of something or someone precious being lost, being found, and then a celebration, Jesus shared these stories to illustrate for us how precious we are to God. We were lost, Jesus found us, and heaven celebrates. That is what it means to follow Jesus. 🙂

Bottom line is that you dear reader are so precious to God, to Jesus, that you are celebrated over if you follow Jesus. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

Story Time- 33 Pennies

cash coins money pattern
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Pennies aren’t worth much. In fact I wonder why we even still have them. They are only good for  sales tax at the stores. But I will never forget the day that 33 pennies bought me two bags of food.

In 1991 I was living in Minneapolis and going to a bible college there. I was studying for the ministry. First semester I worked at Billy Graham’s ministry headquarters as a janitor in the evenings. But I could not work the buffing machine which was an important part of the job, so even though I got along well with everyone and showed up for work each day, they had to let me go. It was humbling to get fired as a janitor when only six months before I had left a promising career as a sales rep.

In December 1991, I was almost out of money. Things weren’t going well at all. I had 33 pennies, so I went to a convenience store to buy a package of Ramen Noodles to have a little to eat. While I was in the store, a man walked up to me and said, “You are a student at the college, right?” I told him I was, He said, “Let me buy you lunch.”

He bought me two bags worth of food enough for a week. When we went to the counter to pay, he handed the cashier the money. The cashier handed me the bags. It was only a matter of seconds from the time the cashier handed me the bag to when I turned to thank the man. He wasn’t there. I went outside to thank him. He wasn’t there. There was not enough time for him to walk away, run away, drive away, or anything. He simply wasn’t there as if he had never been there.

So I thanked God for the food and went to the apartment I was staying at. I also thought about Hebrews 13:

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it”

I did not show the ‘man’ hospitality, He showed it to me by buying me food. But it definitely made me wonder that day about what had just happened.

Hope you have a blessed weekend. Thank you for reading. 🙂

The First Christmas- The Perspective of the Angels

angel art black and white clouds
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Imagine that you are one of the angels created by God and stayed faithful to God. You have seen Jesus on his throne in heaven. He is the one who created you. He is the one you have worshiped since he created you. He is the one that has sent you to do his bidding to serve human beings, sinful human beings.

As an angel you have seen Jesus in all of his power and glory and you know he is the creator God.

Now imagine coming to the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus is a human baby who has just been born. If I was one of the angels, it would BLOW MY MIND. The all powerful Son of God who created everything is now a human baby.

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The angels were perhaps astounded by it all. He left his throne to become one of the humans that dared to sin against God and who are weak and vulnerable and yet God loves them so much that sent Jesus to be their Savior. You are well aware that there is no Savior or salvation for the fallen angels.

Perhaps you are one of the angels sent to be the announcement choir to the shepherds, lowly men who smelled bad because they were with the sheep all day every day and God chooses to announce the birth of the one you have seen on his throne in heaven to these shepherds.

white sheep on farm
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Is it any wonder that Peter wrote of the angels in 1 Peter 1:

“Even angels long to look into these things.”

What things? The things pertaining to the gospel our salvation according to the context of the chapter.

They long to understand it all.

But they are not created in God’s image. Only human beings are. They are not called God’s children. Only human beings who have received Jesus are.

I think if we stop and try to comprehend the true first Christmas from the perspective of the angels, it will amaze us.

John tried to describe what he saw when he was taken up into the throne room of Jesus in heaven in Revelation 1:

 “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars,and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance”

 

No wonder John’s reaction was:

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”

Fortunately for John, Jesus put his hand on John’s shoulder and said It is me don’t be afraid.

That is the Jesus the angels had seen for thousands of years on his throne in heaven. No wonder they long to understand how Jesus could become a human baby to be our Savior. That is the core of the gospel. Because he loves us, Jesus left heaven to be born to grow to die for us and defeat death for us through his resurrection.

If you take time to ponder this, please share your reaction.

Thank you for reading, God Bless.