Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Story of Redemption from the Manger

 I love the meaning of the word redemption.  Webster says it's "deliverance, rescue, salvation. Atonement for guilt, repurchase, recovery by payment as of something pledged."

Jesus is my redemption.  And by His sacrifice, He has repurchased me from the hands of hell. What a glorious, beautiful sacrifice He made.

And it all started in a manger.  This season is and should be one of the greatest seasons of the year for those of us who know Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and the only way to true redemption.

And here I am, feeling closer to The Grinch and whispering to myself "Bahumbug."  I try to blame the commercialism behind Christmas that is so embedded in our culture, but if I can be 100% honest with myself (and you, clearly), it all comes down to one thing.

My heart has fallen prey to the commercialism and I am once again unsatisfied. I love to give; and I love to give extravagantly.  This year, it's just not something we can do. God has blessed us abundantly with enough Manna for today and very little to spare.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I am learning Christ has done this by design this year.  Because He's after my heart.  He's not wanting to instill me the art and beauty of giving, because He has done that already (though never will I reach its fullness on this side of eternity). What He's redeeming for me this Christmas season is truly the reason for the season.

He's reminding me of the humility of Jesus to choose to be born as a babe in a manger, where there was absolutely no room for Him.

He's reminding me that before my children may enjoy the presents and the gifts, they must saturate in the Truth of His ultimate gift.

He's reminding me that giving isn't about things, it's about giving of oneself totally and without reservation, just as He did. 

So, this year, I'm going to give.  But more so of myself and of everything He's placed inside of me through His Holy Spirit.  Things under the tree may be lacking, but at the end of the day, His Blessings will flow from within me out to those I truly care for and love.

I will remind myself daily of who He is...

And remember that my Hope began in a Manger.


Dayspring provided me with the above pictured free products.  All opinions on this post, are my own. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

when your heart set is wrong but you're doing ministry

It never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably ungodly my heart really is. Without full moment-by-moment submission and surrender to Jesus and the shedding of His Blood I am quite a nasty individual.

Which nasty truth did I encounter about myself today?  I covet. So very very badly.  And even in this beautiful season of transition for our family, my heart posture has not been correct, and I stand humbled before God.

Our family is linking arms with Apartment Life ministries as a Cares Team and truthfully, our hearts are filled with expectation and anticipation.  We totally see this as a wonderful God-setup.  We will be living and breathing ministry to our neighbors by service and love.  We will be encountering the second commandment daily and learning its truth by walking it out.  This is so exciting friends!  As a homemaker, I will be able to practice the gift of hospitality on a pretty consistent basis.  We will be living on site at an apartment complex and ministering within the community.

And here comes the problem.  Since we've been offered the opportunity with this ministry, my concern has been about where we will live.  I have been concerned about what my kitchen will look like, how big the place will be, and though I have prayed for wisdom and guidance for both our superiors (those who will offer us the complexes to minister in) and us, I have also consistently asked God to please meet my expectations of our new home.

How foolish and presumptuous of me.  I have totally lost sight of what really matters. Our family has been offered an opportunity to link arms with Jesus and minister unto people He loves and has died for.  This new season and ministry our family is stepping into has absolutely nothing to do with us and everything to do with God's heart for His people and the people who will come to Him through this endeavor.  How foolish and selfish of me to count things to be of higher regard than His Beloved people.

This coveting thing is so easy to fall into-- especially in this great nation of ours that promotes the American Dream. It is so easy to desire the things rather than the giver.  I don't believe things in and of themselves are bad. Some are called to great wealth-- like Abraham, King David, Joseph, Cyrus and Job while others are called to live simply like Hosea, Jeremiah, Moses, Joseph & Mary.  The point isn't trying to figure out which one we are, but rather to seek the Father and partner with Him.

 I love the way the Apostle Paul puts it,

"I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." 
Philippians 4:12-13