Wednesday, October 30, 2013

By Invitation Only

If you have spent even just a little bit of time in church or bible studies, you have no doubt heard the story of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. If you have not read it, you can find it in John chapter two.

Many lessons can be taught from this passage and I have read it a zillion times. I was tempted to just zip through it a few weeks back. I resisted that temptation and read each word carefully. You see, the Holy Spirit can reveal new things to you even when your bible is falling apart from years of use.

On this particular day John 2:2 jumped off the page and into my heart. "and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding". It sounds simple enough, but as I thought of that verse throughout the day it became clear what God was saying to me.

Jesus was INVITED to the wedding. He didn't storm the gates and insist on attending, he didn't sneak in the back entrance and he didn't show up as a "plus 1" on someone else's invitation. HE. WAS. INVITED.

My point...Jesus will not take over your life by force. He won't sneak in your house and teach moral standards to your children. He won't crawl through a window and save your marriage, or steal your password and bless your finances. You have to invite Him in and give him full access.

As Christians we are to become increasingly Christ like. I'm not there yet. You are not there yet. The only way we can get there is to invite him in to be an active part of our whole life.  When we invite guests into our home, we clean or straighten so they will be comfortable in our home. On occasion I have been guilty of hiding toys in the closet and closing doors to messy bedrooms when company is coming. That was my attempt of trying to make it look like I had my house under control when I didn't. We try to do the same thing in our spiritual lives. We clean up the part of our lives that people can see and close the doors to the troubles, doubts and fears that we don't want to reveal. But because of God's grace and mercy we don't have to close any doors. We can fling open the door to our heart and invite Jesus into our messed up lives. He will come in and love us as we are and will give us the strength and the courage to clean up those hidden places.

The thought that Jesus can love me right here, right now in the middle of my mess just blows my socks off!

Extend the invitation to Jesus. He is waiting to come into your life!

Peace out!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Rest for the Weary - Part 2

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me" - Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

YOKE - (noun) a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or the cart they are to pull.

I love how Jesus used illustrations while teaching. It is so much easier to understand a concept when it is explained in terms which you are familiar. Back in the day, it was common for mules, or beasts of burden, to pull heavy loads. These animals were yoked together, not only to share the burden but to keep them going the same direction.

Jesus wants to be yoked with me. **Mind blown**. He not only wants to carry my burden, he wants me to walk beside him and learn from him. This is an incredible offer than none of us should pass up!

First, when Jesus and I are yoked together,he is shouldering my burden along with me. When things seem to be overwhelming, he is there to help me through it. So many things in this earthly life are burdensome - finances, sickness, relationships - but through prayer and SEARCHING THE WORD, he provides direction.

Also, when we are yoked we are side by side. To me that means he is always there...during treatments, sickness, sleepless nights, and self-doubting days. Always. Not when it is convenient, but always. My chemo treatments now come with a side order of reaction. The first day of each treatment I have a time where every muscle in me seems to twist and contract and my head feels on the brink of explosion. I can assure you I am quite the sight during these reactions. I'm sure I look like a monkey on a jungle gym. I'm hooked up to IVs so my movement is limited, but I try standing and swaying, sitting on the floor, I have even sat backward in my chair with my arms and head hanging over the back of the chair. My body is against me, but my Jesus is for me, so when these pains start, I think of scripture verses that remind me that He is with me, walking on the water and through the fire.

We spend so much time trying to find a person to be "yoked" with - business partners, friends, spouses. When really the most important yoke is with Jesus. Some spend more energy looking for a dance partner than they do getting to know The One that matters for all eternity.

The football games aren't going to be that great this weekend and we are suppose to have some rain, so spend some quiet, indoor time getting yoked up with Jesus!

Love and peace from my deck,