Tag Archive | daily living

A melancholy musing

Two almost-sisters were blessed with new grandbabies last week.  One is a cousin by marriage who has been family a long time  The other is a life-long friend who calls me her “forever friend.”

I am so happy for both of them.  There is nothing like holding a new baby in your arms, and when that baby is your very own grandchild, well you just have to experience it and you know what I mean.

I was blessed beyond measure to be at the birth of my first grandchild, a girl.  Our one and only son and his beautiful wife lived close to us then, and her parents were driving from out of state to be here when she entered the hospital.  So it was my great priviledge to be in the birthing room when that tiny little creature breathed her first and squalled like a baby.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,   Because birth itself is simply breathtaking.  But when the son of my heart gives life to his own child, that is a mountain’s high peak.

My melancholy comes when I wish for and long for that grandgirl to be closer to my house.  She, along with her two siblings (my other equally precious grandchildren), and her parents moved far away three years ago.

So when I get a Facebook message from that first grandgirl saying, “Dreamt that I arrived at your house after a long trip. I miss your face!!!!!”, I weep.  I just can’t help it. Because I. Miss. Her. Face. So.Very. Much!

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I know I’m not the only one.  I have friends whose grandchildren live across country, and we often share our joys and heartaches at short bursts of togetherness and long stretches of being apart.  We understand each other.

So I rejoice with those almost-sisters who have new babies to hold and snuggle.  They will cherish these days.  And I weep with those who wish their grands were right next door, like mine were for twelve years.

I thank God for those twelve wonderful years.  I was given time to invest in relationships with three that are still precious and dear to this Grammy’s heart.  Those years were a gift, an important and valuable gift that I don’t take for granted.

In my tears, I will remember the hugs, the smiles, the cups of hot cocoa, the snuggles with a thousand Disney movies, the tucking into bed, the reading of books, the telling of stories, the prayers.  Ah, the prayers.  They never stop.  They go wherever the grandchild goes because that is my connection with her and with God.

And I trust God to hold her.

The plan

Day 6 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Find the Lamb of God in Revelations 5 and know God has a plan from beginning to end.

Our one and only son was 10 years old the year The A-Team premiered on TV.  He and Sweet William watched it together.  A group of former military men had a difficult mission each week and did whatever was necessary to complete it for the good and to help the oppressed.  Colonel Hannibal Smith, the leader of the group, quoted the line almost every show.

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

This is the feeling I get when I read the book of Revelation in the Bible.

The first verse of chapter 1 of Revelation gives its theme:

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega.  He was in the beginning and He will be in the end.  The one who died but is now alive forevermore. The entire book is exciting and mysterious and sometimes hard to understand.  But what is clear as a bell is a picture, the revelation of Jesus in all of His heavenly glory and magnificence.

In Chapter five, we see Him as the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain.

Two contrasting members of the animal kingdom give witness to the person of Christ, the fierceness and kingship of a lion versus the meekness and gentleness of a lamb.  He is both.

His first coming was like a lamb, lead to the slaughter, not opening His mouth nor resisting the evil deeds of men.  He gave up His life willingly for this was His purpose.

His second coming will be so different.  We will see Him victorious, conquering, the King of kings ready to assume His rightful reign in the earth.  And the heavens erupt in spontaneous worship.  How can they not!  How can I not join their worship of Him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb!

From Genesis to Revelation God unfolds this beautiful plan to redeem men and women, boys and girls to Himself.  When we were helpless sinners unable to work hard enough, to be good enough, to make ourselves pure enough to stand before a holy God, God the Father sent God the Son to take our rightful punishment and call us righteous.  

“Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.”

He became like us so that we could become like Him.

The plan is for me to live forever with the Godhead, eternal bliss, forever worship, united with loved ones.  No more tears or death or suffering or pain.  All things will be made new.

I can hardly wait!  The words are faithful and true for the One who said it is faithful and true.  

It’s His plan.  It is His to complete.  He will bring it to pass.

And I love it when a plan comes together.

Enjoy the Crabb family singing about the Lion and the Lamb.

It’s not too late for you to join us on this journey.  Jump right in.

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

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For me

Day 5 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read Isaiah 53, the suffering Savior

passion-garden-jesus-7from The Passion of the Christ movie

I had to watch some of The Passion of the Christ last night even though it’s number 28 on the “40 days” list.  It’s the only way I can get even a glimpse into what Jesus endured to become my Savior.  

His suffering is apparent from the very first scene, Him in the garden alone with His Father, agonizing in pray for relief.  One disciple remarks to another, “What’s wrong with him?  He seems afraid.”

These who had walked with Him for three years had never seen Jesus shrink in fear.  He had faced down the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  He spoke with an authority that shocked and amazed people.  He had no fear of wind and storm or the demonic living in graveyards.

How could the Son of God be afraid?

Yet, that is how it appears, at least in the movie.  Already Jesus seems to feel the weight of all sin-soaked humanity, blood-dropping sweat revealing His battles to do the will of God.  Satan appears, offering Him an easier way, a way out of the suffering that Jesus knows is ahead of Him.

The scene changes.  Jesus stands resolute.  His gaze fixed upon the cross that will come.  His crushing blow to the head of the serpent demonstrates a triumphant act of courage and determination.

The Son of God, the Darling of Heaven, the very Word who was and is and is to come becomes a Savior.  Our Savior.  My Savior.

He was beaten.  He was bruised.  He was wounded.  He was mocked.  He was humiliated.  He was forsaken.  He bore my horrible sin.  He did it for me.

ISAIAH 53

The Message

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
    Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
    a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
    We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
    We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
    on him, on him.

He was beaten, he was tortured,
    but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
    and like a sheep being sheared,
    he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
    and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
    beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
    threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
    or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
    to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
    so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
    And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
    he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
    will make many “righteous ones,”
    as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
    the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
    because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
    he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

It’s not too late for you to join us on this journey.  Jump right in.

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

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God will provide

Day 4 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read Genesis 22:1-19, the story of Abraham’s testing and his prophetic statement that “God would provide for Himself a lamb.”

I like sheep even though I had to round up a few live ones a couple of times when I was a kid.  I especially like little lambs.  They are just so cute, so fluffy, so innocent looking.  I have started a collection of them.  Like I need another collection.  

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When I think of lambs, my thoughts go to the Old Testament.  The Hebrew people were mostly shepherds of sheep.  And their history begins with Abraham.

Abraham’s story is so intriguing.

The Bible tells us about an old man who left most of his family and all that was familiar to wander an unknown land the rest of his life.   Just because God told him to.

Abraham received and believed some of the most amazing promises.  His life became an example of faith.  What does it really mean to trust God when you don’t understand the what or the why but you trust the Who?

Abraham’s story begins in Genesis chapter 12.

God’s promise to Abraham didn’t always come quickly to fulfillment.  Some did not come to pass in his lifetime.  And I wonder how he kept the faith?

Sometime in his early 80’s, Abraham was promised that he would have a son and that all of the world would be blessed because of his seed.   It wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old that the promised son, Isaac, was born.  A long time to hold a promise close to his heart.

Our “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend” challenge today is reading about God’s extreme command for Abraham to offer God’s promise on the altar of sacrifice.  It connects us to the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

It was a hard command Abraham heard.  Even more difficult to act upon.  We know the ending to the story, but Abraham carried his heavy heart up the mountain along with the wood and the fire.  I cannot even imagine.

A most profound and prophetic statement is spoken by Abraham before he knows the end of this story.  Somehow his faith kept him under the darkest of circumstances.  When Isaac asked about the sacrifice, the offering they would give, Abraham’s lips moved as the Holy Spirit filled his mouth and he said: 

 “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  

The word here for “God” in Hebrew is Elohim, the Creator and Judge.  This is the One who created the plan of salvation from the very beginning; the One who must judge sin because He is righteous and holy; the One who would provide His own sacrificial Lamb because we can never, ever, ever measure up.

This is the God who promised a Savior, a Lamb who would take away the sin of the world.  Hallelujah!

Though the fulfillment of the promise was long in coming, it came!

I have some promises I am holding on to with all my heart.  Yet I may not see all of God’s promises completed and fulfilled in my lifetime.  It is mine to trust the One who made the promise until it comes to be.  And what He says He will do.

 

It’s not too late for you to join us on this journey.  Jump right in.

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

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Symbols

Day 2 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Wear a symbol of your faith during the 40 days.

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At first glance, I think this is going to be easy.  I have a couple of cross necklaces, several bracelets with Christian messages, and a pair of cross earrings.  I even have a scarf with “I love Jesus” printed on it.

No problem.  I can wear any or all of them during the next 40 days.  I have done it before during the season of Lent.  It was a constant reminder to me of Whose I am.

But then I go deeper.

Anyone can wear a piece of jewelry with a cross attached.  In fact, it seems quite popular among the rich and the famous.  Google it for yourself.  Even a female lead on one of my favorite crime-solving shows wears a cross necklace every week.

But does wearing a cross prove I have faith?  I don’t think so.  No more than wearing a baseball cap makes me a ball player.

If I am a Christ follower, it should show in more than just my clothing and my jewelry.  It must be integrated into my actions, my words, and my attitudes.

Hear Paul’s admonition to the Colossians:

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.” (emphasis mine)

Now that is a fashion statement.

This past Sunday, our pastor at Little Flock said we should love out loud.  What would that look like, this loving out loud?  More than a silver cross on a chain, I’m sure.  Challenging to say the least.

The only way to love out loud, to wear my true faith is to die to myself and live my life through Christ Jesus. Seek the things above rather than the things of this earth.

I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me

This, Christ in me, this is my symbol of faith and this is my destiny.  May it sparkle and shine and be noticed.

Join us on our journey?  We welcome you.  

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

40 days to Passover download

40 days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

the cross

Tomorrow, March 10, 2014, will mark 40 days until Resurrection Sunday, what the world calls Easter.

Like many other Christian-related events, the holiday of Easter has taken on a life of its own.  It has become very commercial and in many ways something far removed from what it was to represent.  On Easter Sunday morning, people will fill the sanctuaries of churches all over the world.  Some of them haven’t been to church since last Easter.  Many will wear new clothes and shoes to represent newness of life.  Children will find an Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies, eggs, and jelly beans.  Plastic eggs will be hidden in yards and hunted by happy little folk, excited for the adventure.  Families will gather at the table for a festive meal and probably serve ham.

But . . . let’s view the holiday through a different lens.   

Jesus entered Jerusalem one triumphant Sunday and on the following Thursday, he celebrated the Jewish Passover feast with his twelve friends.  In less than 24 hours, he was hanging on a rugged cross gasping for breath and weighed down with the load of guilt, shame and sin from the likes of you and me.  He was the sacrificial Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, to satisfy a holy and righteous God who must and will judge sin.

He died a horribly cruel death and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  His friends, followers, and family were devastated, their hopes dashed to the bloody ground where Jesus’ life poured out.  They didn’t understand.  

Somehow still, neither does the world.

Sunday morning brought a glorious change.  Astonished women and disciples discovered an empty tomb.  Men walking along a road, welcomed a companion and only recognized Him as the living Lord when He broke bread and gave thanks.  A surprise appearance to the disciples and a touching of the nail prints turned despair unto belief and words joyously proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”

This is the reason we celebrate.  

I invite you on a 40-day journey to the Passover and Resurrection Sunday.  It begins tomorrow, March 10, 2014.

Would you please join me and my sweet sister-friend, Robin Howe, who will be guest posting with me during the next 40 days?

This journey is meant to prepare our hearts, to work out our salvation by drawing near to the heart of God, becoming more like Christ Jesus in our daily living.  May we become more pliable in the Father’s hand so that He can conform us into the image of Jesus, which is our purpose.

We need a reminder once in a while, yes?

You are welcome here.  Journey with us during the next 40 days.

From Mt. Moriah with Abraham and Isaac to the Israelite deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

To the Judgment halls of Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod.

To the whipping post and the road to Calvary.

To the darkest weekend the world has ever witnessed.

To the garden tomb very early on Sunday morning.

This is our salvation.  This is our freedom.  This is our victory!

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.  

40 days to Passover 2014

Thoughts on retirement

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People have asked me “How is retirement?”  Any why not?  I’ve been retired (partly) for a full month and a few days.  I’m an authority.

But really, I am considering the changes that have occurred since January 17th,  I’m still trying to find the rhythm of being in this season of my life.

Thus far these are my thoughts on being retired.

  • There are still sheets to change, clothes to wash, meals to cook and dishes to clean up.  The saying is true, a woman’s work is never done.
  • I find that the two days I teach my piano students are still busy, and I’m too often rushing to complete tasks before lessons begin.  Needing a rhythm here.
  • I still get up early.  It seems natural, and I enjoy watching the sun rise.  But then I also go to bed early.
  • I love that I can linger a little longer over my Bible study, my secret time with Jesus.
  • I stay in my pajamas a little too long some days.
  • It is a good thing to shower, put on a little make-up and style my hair every day even when there is no place to go.
  • Sweet William and our little Buddy dog like me being home more.  They may be getting a bit spoiled.
  • It’s nice to eat breakfast in leisure with Sweet William.
  • Afternoon coffee is still a treat.
  • I am practicing the piano more and enjoying it tremendously.
  • I’ve said “no” to some things and “yes” to others.  I’m learning to be careful about my answers.
  • I’m heeding others’ warnings that retired life can become just as busy as work-a-day life.
  • My mind is not as frantic as it used to be.  I’m traveling in the slow lane a little more.
  • While I’ve almost always had older women in my life as role models, suddenly now I’m the “older woman.” I realize this is a grave responsibility.
  • People are the most important thing.  Giving them my time and a listening ear is one thing I can offer.
  • Ministry opportunities are ever present, and very often it is around the table, whether in my kitchen, someone else’s, or a restaurant.
  • God has designed my life and even now He has plans.  I want to be aware of it and be cooperative with it.

The Almighty knows me.  He has His eye on me.  He has surrounded me with Himself.  His hand rests lovingly on me.  I cannot escape Him nor do I want to.  His plan for me was written long ago.  He thinks about me always.  (Psalm 139)

This journey forward is an adventure.