Tag Archives: Jesus

Change? Depends

 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)

If you asked Mark how to get home, he’d say he didn’t know. When we married and moved to the Bay Area in California, I’d been living there for almost 40 years and knew every back road so that I rarely went the same way twice. Yet, I’m not one to change the furniture arrangement in my house, but, I seasonally change out all the decorations.

You might say, I’m a bit conflicted about change. Some is good and some I’d like to reject. It seems that the older I get, change happens more often.

We had the wonderful opportunity to hear Sandi Patty at her Forever Grateful Farewell Tour concert this week. Sandi’s music is embedded in my heart and soul after listening to her for 40 years. From the opening note, tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheeks because something wonderful was ending.

We changed churches this year — never an easy task — and I’ve struggled to find my place, meet new friends, and serve with the gifts God has given me. Our church is expanding and in the middle of a building project. The sermon series for the year is all about change and the pastor noted that some people will like it and some won’t. We haven’t been involved long enough to have feelings about the changes, yet, I feel like God has brought us here for “such a time as this.”

Our women’s Bible study finished “entrusted” by Beth Moore last week. Paul’s second letter to Timothy was the theme and its focus was to encourage us to be mighty women of God — to share the Gospel with the gifting God has given to each of us. And often that means we have to change how we reach out.

I’m pretty set in my ways but nothing makes me see red faster than for someone to give the answer “but we’ve always done it this way” to a particular problem or situation. How do we share the Gospel in a way that connects with our neighbor in this ever escalating all-about-me and my needs world if we are not willing to speak in a way that is heard?

We fix our eyes on Jesus and shine the light He gives us to those we meet. People are looking for answers — and we have the answer. Discouragement, fear, apathy, and frustration swirl about in every arena. A change in President, home, marriage, or job is not going to solve the hole in our hearts. In the end, it’s not about us — it’s about Jesus.

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.




Missing Piece

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

The Christmas check list seems unending. From decorating the house, shopping and wrapping presents, making cookies, parties and Christmas cards—there always seems to be one more thing to do. If you had known me in my full “go Christmas” mode, it would have just made you tired.

And then life feel apart. Divorce hit and it happened near Christmas. I wanted to ignore the whole season and pretty much did. Long time friends knew that something must be up because they didn’t receive my Christmas card the first week of December. All the joy was drained out and I was left with little hope that Christmas would ever be special again.

I knew that Jesus was with me and He even met me very personally during an especially difficult time. But Christmas…

The traditions had to change and I’m not particularly fond of change. But each year was a little bit better—not great but tolerable. My kids made sure that we kept many of the old traditions and then added new ones. But there was always a little hole in my heart.

Until the big news — I was going to be a grandmother and the baby was due the day after Christmas. Joy, anticipation, and excitement filled my heart.

A good friend said to me one day in early December as I waited for the birth of that baby, “Isn’t it just like God to give you a grandchild now so you can celebrate the birth of two babies at Christmas?”

That was certainly the missing piece for this holiday but it reminded me that the real missing piece was allowing Jesus to fill me with hope and joy every day. He knew what the road ahead looked like and promised to never leave me or let go of my hand.

A funny situation occurred this week when I stopped to get a latte at a new local cafe. It was filled with decorations for purchase and as I perused the shelves, I noticed a tiny nativity set with miniature pieces. I have collected nativity sets all over the word and thought this would be a perfect addition.

When I got home and unwrapped the pieces and placed them in the miniature stable, all were present but one.

I called the manager and told him the story.

“Mmmm, the baby Jesus. Let me check,” he said.

“I found him. He’d been moved to another shelf.”

I picked up my missing piece and the tableau is now complete.

But are you missing something this Christmas? Are you feeling like you’ve been moved to another shelf? Has grief left you wrung out? An injury sidelined you for all the festivities? Depression’s pit just around the corner? No paycheck to cover the gifts you want to give your kids?

Remember that the missing piece is Jesus. Happiness and joy are two different emotions.  Jesus will give you joy even in the darkness because of the flicker of light that was lit on Christmas morn.

That missing piece?

He’s now your Prince of Peace.