Waiting for Messiah

December 24, 2011

“The fullness of time” is never a mystery to the God who loves and cares for my soul.

 

The days were completed… She gave birth to her firstborn son.  Luke 2

It has always been a mystery why Joseph took off on a donkey only days before she was due. To be honest, no one knows how long Mary was pregnant.  Is it possible that she was only 7 or 8 months pregnant and the baby came early and unannounced?  That would mean that Jesus would have been premature in the calendar of man.

What we have based the completion of a full pregnancy on is the previous statement, “when the days were completed.”  Our limited view of time dictates the meaning to be our days, our schedules, our timelines, yet that is not the same as God’s.  He had planned the coming of Messiah from the day of the Fall.  He had marked off on His eternal calendar the millenniums, centuries, years and hours until the final click of the second hand struck and a new dawn chimed.  The lonely night of mankind’s soul was broken by the dawn of redemption and nothing could have prepared the weary and terrified couple for what their simple obedience would bring. God came, a tiny Innocent in the hands of fumbling humanity laid in the midst of the squaller of sin.

There are three common circumstances that surround lives at Christmas.

  • There are those who will be encompassed with all the gladness and joy for which the season is intended.  Families will meet under beautiful trees stuffed with presents under their boughs.  They will eat and laugh, watch kids reacquaint with cousins and grandparents, laugh at old movies and timeless music and get “just what I wanted” over and over again.  This is what we all hope for and what I wish for everyone I know.
  • There are those who will wish for more.  More people, or just one special someone, to celebrate the season with.  More of the tidings of joy or the realization of peace on earth and especially in the home.  There are those who will yearn for the past years and look forward to the next year when Christmas cheer will be more than a phone call or a Skype’d “I miss you” from far away.
  • There are those who are truly alone.  Though family might be in the same room, there is little joy and the kind of tension that can only be created when the brokenness of life invades like a marauding hoard.  Or those who suffer the consequences of choices that were made and cannot be changed.  Or those who the good life seems to have passed by, the gripping loneliness never as acute as at Christmas when people are supposed to be with people.

I write this within our own peculiar circumstances.  We are, once again, in a hospital room unplanned and unwanted but none the less necessary.  Setbacks and sickness have combined to interrupt plans and schedules.  And I find myself with the same choice as many who read these few words I write.

And there is a choice.  Do I pine away with regrets for what could have been or rejoice that this Season is to celebrate the Savior who came to be with us and never leave us?  “Diverse temptations,” Paul said, “trials of many kinds,”  all of which are intended to supplant our self-sufficiency with the sufficiency of the Christ Child, the Hope of Glory.

Old Zechariah said it best when his tongue was finally released at the birth of his son, John the Baptist.  He said that the Messiah was coming, “To grant that we might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all of our days.”  It was the original Christmas present from Heaven to you and me… serving Him without fear.  Knowing holiness and righteousness all of our days no matter what strange difficulties or crushing loneliness we might walk in.  Knowing that no matter what the circumstances, “the fullness of time” is never a mystery to the God who loves and cares for my soul.  Though my calendar dictates that it is time for different circumstances Jesus enters my world and declares the message of hope and the promise of the New Covenant in the diverseness of this life.

So I say to you, Merry Christmas, friend.  The Savior was born so that these days of trial as well as these days of joy might be spent with Him and without fear.  May you experience His favor and mercy throughout this season and new year.

“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy
for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”
Luke 2:10-11

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Nakasu No More

October 29, 2011

 

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”  Isaiah 49:16

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"Special Treasure,” written in Malayalam, the language of Kerala.

The name has a lovely tone to it.  Nakusa is the name given to thousands of little baby girls every year in north India.  Beneath the rhythm of the six letters though is a meaning that poisons the life path of the innocent.  The name means “unwanted” in Marathi, the language of Maharashtra.  It is given to the little infant girl in the believe that it will insure that the next baby will be a boy.

Often times, it is not the choice of the mother or father.  Tradition, family pressures and superstition play more a part than the lack of love of the parents, particularly the mother who often grieves over the same neglectful abuse done to a daughter that was visited on her.  Along with the stigma to the child is the oft times regret of what the parents did to the child through the name, especially when the promised boy child does not arrive.  There is enough guilt to go around for all when an innocent child is labeled Nakusa – “Unwanted.”

Would it be too simplistic to draw a parallel to so many other unwanted’s today?
Every day in America…

  • 40,000 children are physically attacked at school.
  • 70% of pornography winds up in the hands of children.
  • 3,288 children run away.
  • 2,989 children see their parents divorce.
  • 1,849 children are abused or neglected and five die each day.

The list of the abuses never lessens and is always increasing.  In other words, the name Nakusa becomes more common everyday.  You know one of these children.  Very likely, you have felt the sting of Nakusa yourself.  Would it surprise you that God’s name for you is very different?

….the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.  Deuteronomy 7:6
….Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ Hosea 1:10
….Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  1 John 3:1

I was a small boy when I learned to pray.  In fact, I do not remember a time in life when I did not have an almost daily awareness of God.   I thought of God as being very big, very old, very kind and very distant.  I knew God to be real just like I knew Him to be separated from me.  I could pray to Him but there was never a knowing of this Old Giant who sat at the top of what seemed like a mountain of white steps leading to His throne.  In my mind, I was at the bottom of those steps always looking up.

A day came when the God that I knew to be real also became needed.  I had created a chasm, a gulf that grew between the bottom of those steps and my life until there was nothing left but fear.  Without knowing God, there was little left but fearing Him to the point of trying my best to distance myself and make peace with Him at the same confusing time.

The fear grew and grew until one day I was offered a solution.  If I would stop trying to run and instead plea for mercy undeserved, Jesus would appeal to His Father on my behalf.  I was told that Jesus’ life was given to bridge the divide between a holy God and the mess I had made of my life.  As genuine as God had seemed to a little five year old who prayed, “now I lay me down to sleep” the realization of God at that moment changed my pain into healing, every sin into forgiveness, and my fear into the safety of His loving hands.

How do I know there is a God who loves you the same way?  I cannot deny someone that I actually know.  God cannot be a fantasy if He rescued me, changed me and loved me everyday since.  And you can also know how deeply and completely God loves you if you come to that throne on the terms of the One who sits on it.  It is as simple and profound as life can get.

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands”… The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.  Isaiah 49:32, Deut. 33:27

So here I am, no longer Nakusa, Unwanted, but inscribed on the palm of the hand that created the world. “Inscribed” means indelibly etched and every time He catches a glimpse of that hand, He thinks of me.  I do not understand it but neither do I have to because I have come to know His love that has set me free. His bible is filled with the promises that the One who loves me will never leave me and never again leave me alone.

You can know that acceptance as well. It will mean more than a name change because it is a life change.  Jesus stands ready to take you to the throne and what you will find is the overwhelming love found in the palm of His loving hands.

Unwanted will be in the past, Nakusa no more.

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What Legacy Will You Leave?

October 21, 2011

But Manasseh did not take possession….  Israel did not drive them out completely… Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants… “Therefore, I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”  Judges 1:27-2:3 ______________________________________ They had [...]

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The Bigger Life

September 10, 2011

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Suffering, Jan and My Friend Don

July 25, 2011

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Hot Summer Days

July 14, 2011

It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.  1 Kings 17:7 ________________________ It is hot and dry in Texas. The reports are that this is the hottest it has ever been and still the heat keeps coming.  The talk is all about [...]

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Happy Birthday, America!

July 3, 2011

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The Kingdom Love that Covers

June 29, 2011

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The Goat Patch

June 16, 2011

Wisdom comes in many packages.  At times, the wisdom and understanding that we need arrives in well defined and attractive packages. When I think of “Jesus the Good Shepherd” for example, I can easily reflect on the wonderful imagery of our Savior as He carries the lamb safely in His arms. Wisdom can come from [...]

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From the Streets to the Kingdom

June 8, 2011

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted Because they were no more.”  Matthew 2:18 ____________________________ “I have no remembrance of my home, my parents… I was on the streets from my earliest memory.  We were a group of children that lived [...]

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