Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘truth’

Who wants a Partridge in a Pear Tree?

It seems to be a rather odd song, doesn’t it?  What could assorted birds, maids ‘a-milking,’ drummers and dancers have to do with Christmas?  You might be surprised.  Before we start exploring the story, though, why not download a free coloring book to go with it at the DLTK site?  Then listen to the song as you read along:

This Christmas carol was published in England in the early 1800s but is believed to be of French origin.   While there is some dispute about the symbolism intended in the carol, several believe that it was a tool for Christians to memorize and share their faith.  Examining the gifts of each day provides a foundation to understand the awesome generosity of our God…and the abundance in the Christian faith.

If you really don’t enjoy reading but want to know the story, I recorded a video to tell the story but below you will find the story and the Scripture references to deepen your study. Traditions and history confound things a bit, so you may find those who celebrate the 12 Days before Christmas.  Most, though, consider Christmas Day the First day (honoring the birth of Christ) and January 5th (Epiphany) the 12th Day (which celebrates the Gifts of the Magi).  But tradition and religion are not the essence of our faith…this song gives us some unchanging Truth to feast upon.  Let’s go!

FIRST DAY                         Jesus Christ                           Luke 1:35 & 1 John 4:9

The celebration begins with the arrival of the Messiah!  God with us, Immanuel!

SECOND DAY                   Old & New Testament         John 20:31

Jesus is the Word in living, human form.  The Scriptures, old & new, speak of Him.

THIRD DAY                       Faith, Hope & Love               1 Corinthians 13:13

Paul said, ‘…these three remain…and the greatest of these is love.’  The heart of the Word is revealed in the three french hens.

FOURTH DAY                    Gospels                                   Matt., Mark, Luke & John

The good news that God continues to seek us…and will do whatever it takes to allow us to choose to be connected with Him is a priceless gift.

FIFTH DAY                         Books of Moses/Law           Genesis – Deuteronomy

Those books of the Law are not dry in any sense.  Though Christians do not live under the Law, we live IN IT – for Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.

SIXTH DAY                         Six Days of Creation            Genesis 1

Everything was created by God…and entrusted to humanity, His crowning creation.  Made in His image with purposes grander than we conceive!

SEVENTH DAY                  Perfect Gifts

The gifts of the 7th Day exceed our ability to explore them in this lifetime.  Praise Him for the very first one:  eternal covenant!  He is the beginning and the end and everything in between!  ENJOY HIM.

Everlasting Covenant –  Isaiah 56:4-5

Spiritual Knowledge – Jeremiah 24:7

New Heart – Ezekiel 11:19

Spiritual Rest – Matthew 11:28

Holy Spirit – Luke 11:13

Eternal Life – John 10:28

Spiritual Crowns – Revelation 2:10

      EIGHTH DAY                     Beatitudes                                     Matthew 5:3-10

The Beatitudes reveal Kingdom Life–which is pretty much opposite of what we typically experience.  We are to be in the world but not of it so that others can see a distinction.  The beatitudes create a beautiful life.

Humility – Matthew 5:3

Repentance – Matthew 5:4

Meekness – Matthew 5:5

Spiritual Hunger – Matthew 5:6

Mercy – Matthew 5:7

Pure Hearts – Matthew 5:8

Peacemaking – Matthew 5:9

Suffering for Christ – Matthew 5:10

NINTH DAY                            Fruit of the Spirit                         Galatians 5:22-23

This fruit is singular; it is HIS fruit, not ours.  The flavor of our life will be rich and sweet when He is its essence:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control.  This is not a list to achieve but a spirit to receive.

TENTH DAY                            Ten Commandments                   Exodus 20:1-17

The commandments are all about relationship…first with the Father, then with others.

ELEVENTH DAY                     Faithful Disciples                          Matthew 10:2

We know there were 12; we want to be counted among the faithful.  Judas chose his own way and it was the way of death.

TWELFTH DAY                       Apostles Creed

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

5. The third day he rose again from the dead:

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:

9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

10. The forgiveness of sins:

1l. The resurrection of the body:

12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

PHEW!  Who knew?  Are you astounded by the richness of that carol?

Be blessed and have a Merry Christmas.

 

Going Along To Get Along Kills

Relationships continue to weigh on my heart.  The longing of God for each of us to connect to Him (and one another) with depth and honesty beats loudly in my mind.  The tendency of humanity is to settle for much less than God desires in our relationship with Him and with others.  Truly connected relationships are what our own hearts long for as well.  Contrary to the secular refrain, no one wants to be ‘tolerated.’  We want to be understood, valued and enjoyed.  So does God.

“Tolerance” is the cry of the world; “Treasured” is the cry written by God. 

Connected relationships are better described as partnerships chosen by those involved.  If there is no choice, their is no real relationship.  It is the explanation of that oft-asked question, “Why did God give free will if He knew sin would be the result?”  Without choice, we could not be in a real, connected relationship with God.   If our human relationships aren’t sweetened by choice–if we are dictators to others–we isolate ourselves.  If we simply go along to get what we want (or avoid conflict), everyone loses.  Choosing connected relationships brings richness to life!

Yet, all around us we see chaos and disconnection.  Homes are destroyed by divorce, churches split and our political system spews nastiness continually.  No one wants the reality we see, so how have we deteriorated to such a mess? I can answer with my own confession, and I think it speaks for the majority:

I often trade CONNECTION for whatever is easier.  You, see I like comfort; the easy road is typically my go-to choice.

Sometimes the easy road actually is a good choice, but  “Good is the enemy of best.” We fall to the temptation to ‘go along to get along.’ We sacrifice what we know is right because that is the expedient thing to do.  That is how Jesus was consigned to the Cross in 30 A.D.  We do the same when we trade God’s desires for the easy road.

Going through the motions may get the job done…but settling is always a travesty.

The work of relationships takes us out of our comfort zones and easy chairs.  Understanding the cast of characters that compel us to choose the easy route sheds light that helps us embrace the challenge.

  • Sometimes we are not clear on what is actually being asked by a relationship partner.  We must be willing to do the hard work to figure out what is needed.  Relationships are not about what we get out of them–or what we do for others.  However, when we love, we value others and are valued which means we do things for each other!
  • Other times we simply cannot do what is being asked and don’t clearly communicate our reluctance–or our needs.  Here we have two parallel paths to walk.  We need to work on our communication AND build up our strength.  If the ‘ask’ is reasonable and beneficial for both but we haven’t developed the skills–it is time to work on those skills!
  • Sometimes we simply are not willing to do what is needed.  This is particularly common as we age and grow weary.  A modicum of maturity restrains our reactions so our relationships appear okay–and sometimes we believe the lie ourselves. Dis-connected hearts, though, are a sham that will eventually implode!   Simply going through the motions (or doing what we’ve always done) does not satisfy our hearts or God’s.  Settling is the beginning of a dying relationship. Recognizing the danger and valuing what God values will blast this darkness away.

Healthy relationships matter!  Make a commitment to do the work of building unity.  Ephesians 4:1-3 offers great wisdom:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

We have an incredible calling.  We have an amazing God who shows us how to relate to others.  Christ who left the glories and comforts of heaven to redeem those who would reject Him is our Savior–and our example.  Living surrendered to Him will sweeten every relationship.  In fact, until we are solid in our connection with God, we will try to make other relationships do what only He can do.  He is our source.  Plug in and invite others to join!

For more practical tips, visit:  ABCs of Relationships.

 

 

The Source of Love – not a sample of love

For more than half of my life, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated with one man:  my husband, Craig. His love has been a blessing and privilege I could not earn and often don’t deserve.  It has shown me what the love of God looks like.  His love brought stability to me–and created two more loves of my life:  our children Rusty and Riesa.  But this really is a piece about the source of love…not just lovely samples of it!

God, in His infinite wisdom, actually led us to have this poem read at our wedding.  We didn’t honor God in those years, nor did we understand how true this is.  But accepting truth doesn’t make something true.  It either is true or it is not.  The love of God as a necessity is truth.

Marriage Takes Three

Human love is fraught with problems that come from our human nature–selfishness, self-centeredness and a lack of faithfulness.  We say “I love you” and really mean “I love how you make me feel.”  The only way we can really love is to receive the love of God and let it pass through to others.  True agape love–the love that is God–is beyond our human abilities.

It intrigued me to discover that only Peter expressed his love directly to the Lord.  We often talk of ‘loving Jesus’ but the Scriptures do not record many such expressions.  There are many commands to love God and discussions of love, but stating love directly is a different story.   You may recall that the disciple Peter saw himself as totally committed to Jesus prior to his arrest…and then he betrayed him three times. It’s also interesting to note the kiss Judas betrayed Jesus with came from ‘phileo’ love–the love that is based on shared interests.  When Jesus restored Peter, he asked him:  “Do you (agape) love me?”  Three times Jesus asked about Peter’s love.  Twice he asked Peter if we agape loved him, and Peter replied, “I phileo love you.” Finally, Jesus asked him if Peter phileo loved him.  Jesus knows our limits and he agape loves us…he meets us where we are at!

And that brings me back to this Valentine’s Day.  Craig’s love changed my life…changed who I was because it gave me a glimpse of the faithfulness of God’s love.  Make no mistake:  love matters.  We are called to love but true love only happens when it flows from the Creator.

We love each other because he loved us first.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

1 John 4:19-20

Celebrate those who love you.  But most of all celebrate the One who is love and made it all possible..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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