“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27
School vacation week snuck up on us this year. I guess life has been too busy to even see that light at the end of the chaos tunnel. Once my husband and I realized it, we quickly booked a night away at a family resort up north.
We chose this resort because they have an outdoor heated pool, family activities, an arcade, and a restaurant on site. All you have to do is park your car and experience the fun they offer. Or so we thought…
Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26
Our home has an open floor-plan. It seemed like a great idea when our kids were little. I could be cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and still see and hear my kids while they played in the family room. Now that they’re teens and a tween, however, that open-floor plan can be a challenge.
It seems every time my husband and I finally sit down in the family room to watch a movie or show, my kids suddenly become busy and noisy in the kitchen. Without fail, every time there’s a pivotal moment when one of the characters is about to say something profound and story-altering, one of my kids turns on the ice machine, or drops a pot or a pan, completely drowning out our ability to hear, even when we turn the volume up to 100.
I’m starting to see the same thing happening in my spiritual life.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [His] disciples to set before the people. Mark 6:41
I’ve been broken in big and small ways at various points throughout my life. We all have. There’s not a one of us who would say it doesn’t hurt. Even after we’ve healed, scars remain. Far too often though, we see those scars as marks of failure rather than ribbons of victory.
If we looked more closely at those scars, we’d see they actually became our growing points. Often, our perspective, even our own skin, holds us back, refusing to stretch and give so we can expand. Sometimes it takes being ripped in two for light to get at our dark and stunted places. Sometimes it takes being broken in two before the miracle happens that multiplies us.
… And the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all. Luke 6:19
I wasn’t born early enough to be a Beatles fan and attend one of their concerts. But we’ve all seen images and video clips of the hordes of people at the stage’s edge, arms outstretched, trying to touch Ringo or John. They were driven by their star-struck wonder – so in love with the Beatles’ music, they needed to physically connect.
Jesus had the same effect on people. When He spoke, it touched them deeply inside. Because of that, they were driven to connect with Him physically.
In the instance in Luke 6, many of them had diseases or were troubled by impure spirits. Knowing Jesus had the power within Him to heal, they all reached for Him, and all were healed.
I wonder about the “all” of this crowd, though. There had to have been some well people in their midst, people who didn’t have diseases or impure spirits. There had to have been healthy people who helped the lame and the sick make their way to Jesus. But if “all” were healed, they must have “all” had problems too.
My oldest son, Zack, started weight lifting in the fall. I’ve never seen him work so hard at anything in his life. He watched video after video to establish a routine that would target different muscles on different days. He researched diets and then overhauled his – removing a lot of junk food and replacing it with protein, fruits and vegetables. He dropped some serious cash on muscle strengthening powder drinks and consumes them before each workout.
Physically and mentally, he’s completely transformed. His shoulders and neck have broadened, and his arms bulge. He can now bench 200 pounds!
When I asked him why he got so into it, he took a moment, and then responded: “It’s the first time that I’ve gotten out of something what I’ve put in.” I believe the same holds true for our faith lives.
I’m really not a social media girl. But needing an effective way to promote my new book, I find I’m on it all the time. The more I scroll, the more I’m amazed by the stunning images people post. Inevitably, I end up envying their picture-perfect lives. That’s when I find myself striving to emulate their snapshots.
Yet, when I place something beautiful in front of my camera, the rendering on my phone never captures what I see. After posting sub-par images for months, I finally figured out why.
When it’s not frustrating raising teens, it’s fascinating! Watching them stumble through the ups and downs of growing up is more riveting than TV. Like they say about a good movie: “I laugh. I cry. I’m moved!”
But nothing moves me more than when my kids want to do better.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15-16
Shortly before Thanksgiving, my double oven died. Turns out the control panel needs to be replaced. With the digital chip shortage, it could be a while before the part becomes available.
Initially, I defaulted to the “woe is me” response. The oven isn’t our only appliance that’s gone on the fritz in the past six months. We recently replaced the dishwasher. And the repair guy for the refrigerator has been here so often, I fed him dinner last week!
It’s not surprising though. Eighteen years ago, when our home was built, all the appliances were bought new, at the same time. It makes sense, then, that they’re all dying at the same time too. It just gets overwhelming to have it happen all at once. Until I look on the bright side…