Another advent book by Arnold Ytreeide:
Plug for a new book just released written by a sincere, genuine Jesus-loving friend! Be ready to be challenged to grow!
As I awoke this morning, this very clear and distinct message was the very first thing that popped into my head. I don’t remember what I was dreaming, but this revelation was clear.
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING DEEPER
Symptoms are what we see. We try to treat those symptoms to feel better. What we really need to treat is what is actually causing those symptoms. We need to dig deep inside and investigate to bring true healing.
This is true physically. We feel pain, something hurts, and we can either pop some kind of pill to decrease that shooting pain, OR we can investigate to find out what is causing that pain and correct that.
This is true emotionally. We feel anger, hatred, jealousy, or envy. We can pop some kind of drug to mask how we feel, OR we can investigate to discover what is causing those feelings and work on healing the cause.
This is true spiritually. We feel lost, afraid, alone, far away from God. We can attend every church service, volunteer, read the Bible, OR we can choose to go deeper and work on healing and nurturing our actual RELATIONSHIP with God.
This is true relationally. We feel unloved, ignored, de-valued. We can work harder just to please the other person, we can look for new friends or a new spouse, we can blame others for how we feel they treat us, OR we can choose to go deeper and confront the real issues and build a close intimate marriage and true friendships.
BUT . . . .
- going deeper hurts.
- going deeper requires me to face my own failures and inadequacies
- going deeper takes me to dark places
- going deeper reveals pain that I don’t really want to remember
- going deeper ultimately brings TRUE healing!
- going deeper will make us healthier
- going deeper will enable us to really use the skills and gifts God has given to us
- going deeper will challenge us to live up to our God-given potential!
SO . . . . the choice is yours . . . .
- Do you want just a temporary fix OR do you want true healing?
- Are you going to just mask and avoid the pain OR are you willing to do the hard work to find and experience true healing?
- Will you choose the easy way out of your marriage OR are you willing to humbly admit your own failures and shortcomings and CHOOSE to love, to grow, to bring healing and produce a deep intimate relationship?
Yes, it is hard work, painful work, life-changing work.
BUT the results, the growth, the joy, the freedom, the friendships, the marriage ~ it’s all worth fighting for ~ it causes growth ~ it produces fruit ~ it adds so much blessing into our lives.
It IS worth the journey.
Christmas Eve Service 2014 ~ We were challenged by our pastor to ponder whether we are more excited about Christmas presents or Christmas presence.
I desire and hope my life reflects that I am much more concerned and excited about Jesus’ PRESENCE in my life than about any beautifully wrapped physical gift I could receive.
God’s daily PRESENT to each one of us IS HIS PRESENCE in our lives.
What will YOU do with this incredible GIFT of His Presence?
Luke 2:7 – She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Revelation 3:20 – Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
“No room for them in the inn.” This phrase prompted my pondering. When have I refused Jesus entry into the inn of my life ~ my heart? He only desires what is good and true and best for me, yet when He knocks, I think I can handle it all by myself and reject His help. Or I give Him a small unimportant dirty corner of my heart (that manger out back ~ the house that needs to be cleaned, the meals that need to be cooked), but won’t allow Him to enter into more important and intimate arenas (my relationship with my husband and daughter, the way we manage our money and time, with the things I fill my mind). I am self-sufficient. I make good choices without His help. Or so I think.
But that’s all about “stuff”. What He desires most is to come in and eat with me. Spend time together. Talk. Laugh. Cry. Hang out! Encourage. Grow. Do I hear His voice? Am I ignoring His voice? Or am I responding to His voice and His incredible invitation to dine with Him? To be transparent. Honest.
Challenge: This Christmas, open that door to your inn and invite Him in to STAY! Let love be born in YOU. Make room for Immanuel ~ God with us ~ in your heart. Not just for Christmas. But for the Whole.Year.Through.
I was reading in Matthew 14 this morning. John the Baptist is beheaded. Jesus withdraws to a solitary place. The crowds of people follow Him. He has compassion on them and is moved to healing them.
Later as evening approaches, the crowds are hungry. The disciples are ready to send the crowds away so that they can find their own food when Jesus instructs them to give the crowds something to eat. The disciples show Jesus what little they have, and Jesus blesses it. The food is distributed and lots of leftovers are collected after all have had their fill.
A few thoughts to ponder from this passage:
1) There are crazy things happening in this world today. Like Jesus, we need to find a private solitary place to spend time reading God’s Word, seeking and listening to His voice, to rest in His presence and love, and to cry out on behalf of the “sick”. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
2) He chooses not only to teach us, but then instructs us to share the truth that He has taught us with those who are hungry for Him. He allows us the privilege of sharing His truth and compassion in His ministry! Verse 16, Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
3) Whatever little we think we have, Jesus can take it, bless it, and make it more than abundant to share with those around us who need a touch of His love. Our responsibility is to walk in obedience to His instructions.
Last Friday when we were shopping for our church food pantry, there was a man checking out in front of us. After the cashier told him his total, he stumbled a bit. He didn’t quite have enough money to pay for the $19 worth of groceries he had in his cart. He started to look into his cart to see what he could return. My friend and I both reached into our pockets about the same time to dig out the $4 he was missing. Such a small gift, yet he was grateful. We were glad to be able to help out in this little way.
I do affirm the mission of Kate’s Kart! It’s incredible how much they have grown over the past couple years. Last week, my daughter and I had the opportunity to check out their new exciting location. They upgraded from a storage unit to a small store front. We worked for 2 hours labeling the books that had been donated to them. The fun part was being able to do this with some new friends!