Search

Braking Points

Pausing in the midst of Life to ponder, pray and find footing to continue.

Oxymoron: Advent 2015

imageSo what does the believer do with the Power of weakness, which linguistically presents an oxymoron. We have fought so long and hard to appear smart, strong, and healthy, not to mention spiritual.

How does the admission of weakness before the Lord, who, by the way, knew it all the time, manifest in daily life?

How does the admission of weakness appear as we open our vulnerability to others?

How can submission to his plans, his direction, benefit?

How does ‘when I am weak, then he is strong’ play out?

Will it bring richness, fame, popularity, health?

Consider what the ’emptying’ of himself, what leaving heaven, what becoming Emmanuel ACCOMPLISHED for all who would believe and follow.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:5-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬. [bold, mine]

May God bless us as we allow our weakness to be filled with his strength so that others may drop their defenses and bravado before Emmanuel, that we may serve one another with his love, which is our greatest strength.  Amen

When I am Weak: Advent 2015

image.jpeg

If you have never been weak, never been hurt, never lived…read no further.

Advent leads us to Bethlehem’s Babe, but Bethlehem’s Babe leads us to Life, not without pain, sorrow, or despair, but Life that can make a difference.

When I am weak

From his birth in Bethlehem to his death on Calvary, Jesus experienced the weakness of the flesh. Restricted by the structure of human mind and body, he exemplifies the power of weakness.

Consider a few of his weak moments, perhaps fellow traveler, you can relate:

  • When I am sick
  • When I am hungry
  • When I am without clothing
  • When I am dependent on the good will of others to supply my every need
  • When I lose family and friends to the old enemy death
  • When I am homeless, seeking shelter, shower, and space to call my own
  • When I am despondent, depressed, sweating blood and my prayer warriors are sleeping
  • When I am betrayed
  • When I am abandoned by my friends
  • When I am arrested, in prisoned, insulted, lied to and subjected to the judgement of a crowd that wants to destroy me.

When He was WEAK, for the sake of our salvation, He WAS STRONG.

Whatever thorn you have in your flesh, Christ feels your every pain.
In Him that THORN can witness to His Grace better than all the gifts of the Spirit, all your human talents, and all the strengths you lean on.

Ask God HOW HE intends to manifest this promise in your life:
“My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NET‬‬

 

Persimmons: Advent 2015

image
Sixth Grade Central Grade School, 1956 –Scary Mr. Wilson’s class

My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Wilson, brought persimmons to class, told us how sweet they were and we ate the “mouth puckering” unripened fruit. Imagine in today’s world if that were to happen in a classroom.

Mr. Wilson was right. Persimmons when ripe are very sweet. The fruit of the spirit in the life of the believer when mature sweetens the world. Freedom in Christ infuses the tender fruit with the nutrients to mature.

We are free as we navigate the road to the manger. How we live free among non-believers matters. Excuses for impatience, unkindness, lack of self control because we are stressed, but ‘thank God, forgiven’, erodes the power of freedom in Christ.

The fruit of the Spirit becomes like unripened persimmons, sucking joy from the journey. Freedom misused contaminates. Freedom used to love and serve nurtures.

Choose to live freely enabled to love. Choose the nutrients necessary to become ripened fruit appealing and nurturing to those who need it most.

My attitude and my actions make a difference, but how I choose comes from how connected I remain to the living Vine.  The sweetness  of the persimmon depends on its maturity.

“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:13-15‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Live to Tell: Advent 2015

Never held Bethlehem’s Babe
Or cradled him in my arms
Never tended sheep
Never heard Heaven’s Host
Burst forth with song
Or followed a star like the Magi did.
But I have held a baby
Cradled in my arms
Heard music inspired by the divine
Heard singing from choirs indeed sublime.
Stood on a hill on a crystal clear night
Amazed that stars great ships can guide
Read the words:

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”

Perceived Truth  not revealed by senses

Joined the great cloud of witnesses bound by faith.

And experienced the very presence of Emmanuel

So I have to tell.

image

 

Fear Not: Advent 2015

imagePlaying it safe is not faith nor is it following the One Whose path on earth led to a cross.

Playing it safe is not the Advent road, there are risks involved, but the greater risk is to avoid the trip, hunker down, hide out….God does not lead us anywhere his hand cannot reach us. God is good, but he is not safe at least not in the finite understanding we humans have of safety.

When I choose my physical and mental safety over following Christ, I choose an illusion of the devil, because outside the will of God, aside from the manger, aside from the Cross, there is NO SAFE PLACE!

Don’t let the world squeeze you into a fearful ball of jitters and edginess! Hear the admonition of God spoken 365 times in the Bible, “FEAR NOT!”

Fear shuts down our ability to Love, don’t allow Satan to do that to you this Advent.

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭12:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Clear: Advent 2015

 

Navigating the road to Bethlehem’s child requires vigilance on the part of the believer. There are thieves, who lie in wait to steal and even destroy your joy.

You may have been one who has been blindsided and robbed.

There are fellow believers, so broken and crippled by the circumstances of the past year, that the tiniest bump in the road causes them to stumble and despair.

You may even be one of the wounded.

There are hills, potholes, and thorn covered paths caused by fear, doubt, and a sense of unworthiness. Thousands of obstacles from within and without, all designed by the one who will do anything to make the road to Christ and the road of Christ treacherous and undesirable.

So be vigilant, be of good courage, and remove as many obstacles as you can AND THEN ask God to level the path.

Clear the Way!
image

Engage: Advent 2015

imageCrowds push and shove around on this Advent journey.

Initial reactions to our fellow travelers, so many who do not seek the Christ child. Instead the masses appear caught up in holiday cheer and materialism that leaves them exhausted, inebriated, and often angry. With no vision beyond the celebration, all the cheer in the world cannot fill the emptiness.

This journey may be the only opportunity some people have to find Jesus, the real Jesus. You may be the only one who speaks graciously and attractively to them.
Do not be afraid to engage people of other beliefs or no belief in conversation. Listen to their statements. Listen to their questions, overt or covert. Respond from your heart, the very heart where the Holy Spirit resides.

Engage your fellow travelers today.

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Shortcuts: Advent 2015

There are no shortcuts to Bethlehem. Other roads will lead you astray. What appears to be the straighter course will cause you to lose your way.

imageThere are no shortcuts to heaven. Other roads frankly descend. The scenic route with its frills and snares, the rugged path with its crooks and dares, DEAD ENDS!

There are no shortcuts to Bethlehem. Follow the star! Follow the angels! Don’t be distracted by crowds, noise, seasonal displays. If you seek the Babe, and stay the course, you will find the way.

Find time today to watch and pray. Find time to offer kindness. Find time to rest with the Prince of Peace, let his presence be the light that shows the way.

There are no shortcuts to Bethlehem. There is really only THE WAY!

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭25:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Rest Stop: Advent 2015

Does not matter how many Advent seasons one embarks on, the journey to Bethlehem is new every time.

Why?

imageBecause the past year with its joys and sorrows, its victories and defeats, its gains and losses has changed us. You and I are older, whether 7 or 70 we are not the same persons we were one year ago.

How we approach the journey. What we expect. What we desire. All the factors that push us forward to find again
that the baby in the manger culminate during this journey.

So, we struggle through the crowds, the holly jolly decorations, and seek Jesus.

We may even put on false faces of cheer to mask the pain every display, greeting, and song brings, because the past year has brought us to our knees more often than not.

We know as Christians that we are supposed to be light for others who stumble, not even aware they are looking for the babe in the manger, but we ourselves are often stumbling as well.

Find a rest stop today, a place in time to be still. Is the light within you dulled by the burdens you are carrying? Seek to hear the call of the One Who loves you best.

Remind yourself of the reason for the journey, submit the whole of your load to God and receive the strength needed to continue forward. You are needed so others will know the goodness of God.

Turn loose of the grip you have on the past which you cannot change, so you can move forward with confidence and grace.

Contemplate these two verses of scripture as the YOU of today are, not the person you were last year, as a child, or before the Holy Spirit took up residence within you.

Consider the losses, the gains, the fires you have walked through since you last made the Advent journey.

Bathe in the warmth of His Glorious Light, face up turned and expectant.

Rest, Remember, and Rejoice!

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑