‘Tis the season of resolutions, diets, and fitness challenges. Every Karen and her bestie are resolving to be thinner, richer, and more Instagrammable by the end of the year. With shame and disappointment, I find myself right beside them. After many decades of riding the diet roller-coaster, I can probably qualify for a degree in diet and exercise, so why am I still here? Why is it so difficult for me to love my body and take good care of it? By the grace of the One who made my body, I have decided that this year will be different. The only way to win this battle is to get…
I have been dreaming about writing this post for three years. This dream began mulling around my mind at a time when our hearts were shattered after the adoption we had been pursuing ended in tragedy. My prayer was that my story would point others to our debt Jesus paid for on the cross.
Big birthdays tend to force us to pause and reflect on how far we've come, where we are, and where we're going. The big Four-Zero is especially significant because, though we don't know how many years the Lord will grant us in this life, this milestone marks the halfway point of our expected life span, even according to scripture (Psalm 90:10). It has taken divine intervention for me to look back with acceptance and gratitude and forward with hope as I sit in awkward silence in the present of the presence of my Saviour.
"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Most of us have sung this Sunday school song a gazillion times. But do you truly know that Jesus loves you? Has this truth penetrated the depths of your soul? Do you know that you do not have to change anything about who and what you are for Jesus to love you? If only the value of this truth could pierce our minds as the earworm tends to do. The truth is Jesus loves you perfectly. He cannot love you more than he already does.
The theme of adoption is weaved throughout scripture, starting with God's adoption of the Israelites, through to the adoption of Jesus by his earthly father - Joseph, and ending in the assurance of our adoption as heirs of the Father, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
This week we meet Anna, a prophetess and widow who waited her whole life for the Redeemer of Israel and finally saw baby Jesus when she was already very old. We learn so much from the way God rewarded Anna's faith, obedience and expectancy.
Mary was the only person present at the birth and death of Jesus Christ. From the beginning of his life, she knew that the life of her first-born son will cause her immeasurable joy, but would also pierce her heart. Nevertheless, Mary's humility and unwavering trust in God inspire us to surrender our lives into the hands of our Saviour to use as he sees fit.
We conclude our study with a reminder from Paul on how to find contentment in a world that thrives on the yearning for the next best thing.
This week we reach the next level: being content in all circumstances. Matt Chandler uses Paul's life as an example to show that whether we have plenty or want, live a life of persecution or prosperity, we can do it all only through Christ who gives us strength.
Last week we unpacked Paul's instruction to always rejoice. This week we read a bit further to learn an even harder lesson: never be anxious. These two instructions go hand in hand and are linked with a very important motivation: The Lord is at hand. The only way to suffer well is to suffer with Jesus. When he becomes our supreme treasure, joy and hope we can rejoice always and never worry.