Monthly Archives: December 2016

In us, with us, for us

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winter-654442_1280My third blessing of the season for you is short and simple. It was inspired by God is with Us, a song by Casting Crowns. It’s not a new song. In fact, it appears on their Peace on Earth album, recorded in 2008.

I am often captivated by lyrics – maybe just one line or phrase. And, at this time of year, it takes only the instrumental introduction of some tunes and I am reduced to tears… tears of wonder or happiness or grief.

This year, it was these words, written by Wayne Kirkpatrick:

Love is raining down on the world tonight.
There’s a presence here I can tell…
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel.
He’s the Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts He will dwell…
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel.

 

Good golly, Miss Molly. Emmanuel, the name of Jesus that means “God with us.” It brings a comfort that lasts for more than the length of the song or the season. It brings peace throughout the year.

And, as a Follower, a person who knows and believes with my heart soul mind and strength in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, God as man here on Earth, I know that God is in us. It’s the beginning of the story that is completed at Easter.

But that middle part – God is for us – ahhhh. Yes, those words. Words so easily overlooked, carefully tucked into these beautiful lyrics.

Yes, my lovelies. God isn’t just here, just with us. He doesn’t just abide. He cheers us on. He loves us fiercely and wants nothing more than to see us succeed – succeed in Him. He wants us to reflect His love and forgiveness to everybody. And he gives us the strength, ability, opportunity and desire to do it – all the time. For everyone we meet.

He is for us – not to fulfill our every desire or achieve new levels of accomplishment as measured by the world. No, He is for our spirits of love and acceptance. For our spirits that were made in His image.

He is for us. For you. No matter who you are, He came to be with you, and in you, and for you…

My third blessing of the season:

…Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.                       Romans 8:38-39

God is for us and nothing can change that. Merry Christmas, my friends.

Emmanuel, God with us – and for us. Hallelujah, what a Savior! Click to Tweet

Me-sized answers

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Today as I practiced the Examen, writing about my feelings, emotions, concerns and praise, my mind wandered to things of the world that cripple my heart. And I have only one answer to all of them – stay tuned.

Some of the cripplers…

  • Imagine being a little boy whose daddy has been in Afghanistan for most of the life you remember, hoping that a hidden camera would capture you at the school assembly or football game or family gathering, surprised by the joy of being reunited. Every day on the very edge, every day going to bed disappointed that you won’t be on YouTube anytime soon.
  • Imagine being able to keep only what you can carry on your back and in bags. Imagine walking past miles of streets, buildings, homes and schools that were once beautiful and now, rubble.
  • Imagine carrying all of those things past the world you love, leaving what you once cherished. Not because it is gone, but because violence forces you to flee.
  • Imagine yourself a little girl, far from home, praying as you endure the unspeakable. Praying that your family will never give up. That they will find you. Rescue you.
  • Imagine having not one extra dollar to spend on a present for your children.
  • Imagine that the best place you have to sleep is under the bridge, out of the wind.
  • Imagine being afraid to drive your car through a strange neighborhood – not because of dangerous residents. Not because it’s the wrong side of town. But because it’s the “other” side of town and you might be mistaken for an outsider – a trouble-maker.
  • Imagine that going to church is life-threatening.

Good golly, Miss Molly…

I’m no different than most of you. When I put all of these in a list, I run. I turn my head or close my eyes and shudder. I sing or clean the kitchen or pick up a magazine.

Anything to avoid the pain and heartbreak of the weight I cannot bear. The weight that others bear daily. The weight most of the world carries in some way, whether right here or far away.

I can’t bring daddies or mamas home. I can’t keep bombs from dropping or thieves from stealing little girls. I can’t change how we were born and I can’t house and feed the world. I can’t make haters love.

But God can. He doesn’t always do it when we ask – or at all. But He can.

And if you are looking for “better” or more complete answers, you need to find someone way above my pay grade. Because I can’t imagine what He’s thinking or doing or planning. Right now, right here or behind the scenes.

But this morning I got a peek at what I can do. I asked for a verse to speak to me. I asked for a me-sized answer.

And here it is – the answer I asked you to wait for. Listen, my lovelies. It’s the only answer I have:

Love like Jesus. (John 15:12 paraphrased)

That’s what I can do right now, right here, in my scene. I can love the bejeepers out of those near me. And, as I’m able and you’re able and he and she are able, we can contribute time, talents and treasures so those farther away can feel loved in ways we could never do on our own.

It’s the only answer I have. The only one that keeps me at least a little this side of sane while the world spins new and more sinister evils.

And when I do love and keep loving, when I do what Jesus asks me to – to love like He does – I discover more and more truth in this, my second blessing of the Season. Jesus promised:

I am leaving you with a gift—
peace of mind and heart!
And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
                                        John 14:27 (TLB)

 

Love like Jesus. It’s the only answer I have. Click to tweet