body

One Body, Many Members

You never know how much you need a part of your body until it stops functioning as it should. I bruised my ribs a month ago. I thought for sure they were cracked or broken since they hurt so much, but it turns out they were “only” bruised or strained.

It turns out the ribs are somehow involved every time you bend down and stand up, lie down and get back up, lift, carry, twist, or when you happen to need to breathe. All these things became unusually obvious to me because they all became painful.

I noticed a term recently while reading my bible I hadn’t given much thought to before. In fact I wasn’t really sure what it meant.

Ephesians 4:25 says “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”

“Members one of another.” The term puzzled me. I discovered that the same term is found in Romans 12:4-5: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

It occurred to me that I wasn’t thinking of the term “members” properly. I was thinking about membership in the way that we think of members of a club or gym. But that isn’t the kind of membership God has in mind. God is talking about members as body parts. Specifically, many individual parts, joined as one, and making up “one body in Christ.”

There is another important section in Ephesians 4 about this. Ephesians 4:15-16 says “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

The picture here is fascinating. God has equipped the body, which 1 Corinthians 12, makes clear is His church, with different people, or parts, who have different gifts “for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:6)” of the entire body. This body is joined and held together by “every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly” in order to grow up into the likeness of Christ and “build itself up in love (Ephesians 4:16).”

Colossians 2:16-19 makes it clear that you shouldn’t allow anyone to “pass judgment” or “disqualify” you who is “insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head… ” That is, not holding fast to Christ “from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God “(that’s the rest of verse 19).
God has described the church as His body, and the head being Christ. He speaks of its people as beings joints and ligaments (as seen above), as well as feet, hands, eyes, and ears (1 Corinthians 12:14-21).

1Corinthians 12:19-21 says “If all were a single member where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’”

Wouldn’t that be the height of lunacy- to look at one of your body parts and say, “What’s the point of this one? I don’t need it!” Or “As long as I’ve got my eye sight I’m good. Who needs hands?” You would either be an insane human, or in this case, a really arrogant eye ball. Continue reading

berries

Share It With Me- A Poem for My Daughter

Share It With Me

God’s wonders all around
It takes a two year old to see
The tiny movements in the feet
Of the gathering bee.

This day if I alone
Went for a walk down by the slue
I would not tromp through long, thick grass
To find the dragonflies like you.

I would not leave the trail
To weave and spin beneath the trees,
Leap from stumps, or watch squirrels bustle
Or hear the rustling breeze.

For an hour we could
Toss stones, and in ripples rejoice;
A nursery rhyme’s a prize told
To you in mommy’s voice.

Dandelions become
Flowers, picked and clutched in my fist,
And berry picking not a chore
But a picnic and bliss.

I would have missed the moon
If you’d not pointed to the sky
And the jets roaring overhead
As swift they pass us by.

Such clutter adulthood
Bestows with busyness and rush
I had forgotten how to lie
In grass and there to hush.

To you life is a gift
One that you open without shame
And throw yourself headlong into
‘Tis pleasure and a game.

To be so free from cares
In life, you will not always be
But while you are dear, precious gift
Keep sharing it with me.
Adelle

My blog is not a “mom blog” and I know this isn’t my typical post. Maybe you wonder how it correlates to “Come to Christ.” This poem is a reflection of the delight I have in my daughter’s good delight. Parenting toddlers is often connoted with dread and difficulty, not so much with delight. We’re all familiar with the phrase “terrible twos.” For sure, it is a task that challenges us and tests our patience at times. Sometimes I don’t feel like “dealing” with toddler things today. But more often I am overwhelmed with the beauty of this relationship and the joy of parenting my daughter. She is a gift from God, so I will celebrate that here. There’s not a lot of celebrating children in our culture today, and I think God is pleased when we rejoice in them.

I’m teaching her about Christ, and she’s teaching me too, about all the simplistic, wonderful things God has granted us to enjoy in His creation and in the love of family. His care is displayed in these marvelous things, and I am grateful. When I enjoy my child, I do so with a love for God. All good gifts here point us back to praise the giver- all praise be to His Name!

clouds

Revisiting “Name it and Claim it”- For an Evening.

A year into my salvation I started to recognize the falsehood of the prosperity gospel, or more specifically the Word of Faith Movement. Since rejecting it, I have held it in contempt, regarding it as dangerously deceptive. For several years I’ve cast it away, not really feeling its lure.

Since that time (over 6 years ago), I have battled with many forms of chronic pain, one form brought on by pregnancy and still part of my daily experience even as I chase my now two year old daughter. I’ve tried many therapies, spent plenty of money, and had little success. The treatment I am trying now is the most expensive and the most painful.

After so much pain, limitation, and failed efforts, I found myself desperately wishing for a guarantee. Searching the scripture for hope I came across Psalm 27:13: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” This verse convicted me and challenged my thinking. I had, after all, become somewhat of a pessimist. I went into treatment expecting it to fail, simply because there are few feelings in life worse than disappointment after high hopes. Then again, I’d tried giving up, and that felt even worse. I thought “I can only bear to hope again if there’s a guaranteed outcome.” For the first time, a thought came to me: What if I’m missing something? What if there is some promise of health and success that I’ve passed over? What if God could guarantee my healing based on the certainty of my own faith?

So I entertained the possibility- for an evening. Continue reading

still

Still: A Poem For Christians Awaiting Perfection

Learned, but have I really learned
To trust?
Hoped in God, yet other times
In dust.
Treasures high, but also some
That rust.
Desired God; not always,
But I must.

Hungry, thirsty, satisfied
And filled,
Yet other times all empty
Wanting, nil.
Reaching for His word I must
Be still,
It’s there dry bones ignite to
Do His will.

Overcame, but still more fears
To find,
Surrendered all, I thought, but
Still blind
To fortresses tall standing
In my mind.

Arrived- not ever, not yet
Perfected- not close, but press
Onward- to where salvation lies
Forward- straining for the prize
Upward- rising to His throne
Why? For Christ made me His own. Continue reading

waves

He Will Not Let You Drown

Now it seems His hand has turned
Against you,
Yes, has seen you sinking
And has pressed your head
Beneath the waves.
You think “To catch a breath,
‘Tis one small favor,
Can’t He see?”
But yes, He sees;
So why do gray skies
Blacken more
And gray waves
Lash upon the shore?

But oh, His hand does stretch
To reach you,
See Him walk on stormy seas?
All around control has left you,
Where has gone the Lord of peace?
Your eyes are full of salt
You think you saw the Savior frowning,
Do you really think
He stands aloof while His loved one’s drowning?

Lift up your eyes, He rends the Heavens
His presence dooms the tempest,
Robs of power death’s cold sting
For drawing near, salvation brings
A smile yet, with warmth and love
Though seems abandoned from above. Continue reading

rose

“A Meaningful Life”

There is an innate desire in human beings for our lives to be meaningful, a God given desire that has all too often gone astray from Him.

One of my best memories from childhood is laying on the grass in our backyard and staring at a baseball. I would hold it above my face, rolling it in my fingertips, and feeling the stitches. Baseball was to me a marvelous sport, one that I loved everything about. I loved the dust that would fly and hover in the air when I slid to home base, I loved the crack of the bat followed by instantaneous sprinting, I loved the comfort and smell of my well broken-in Wilson leather glove, and the ball rolling off my fingertips and striking people out. I just loved it.
And I loved to be good at it. I loved for my talent to be recognized and to be “the” pitcher and feel as if winning a tournament was an honor to be solely bestowed on my shoulders.

The child like delight of playing faded over the years and in grade 11 I found myself on a rep team that had already primed the “it” pitcher. It wasn’t me. I didn’t look forward to the game anymore; I was stuck in the outfield. That was my last year of baseball, one in which I felt unrecognized, unappreciated, and unimportant. My team won tournaments, and had success, but I couldn’t enjoy it. I skipped the end of the year celebration, because well- it wasn’t about me. When it was all said and done my coach phoned and asked why I hadn’t been there. I can’t remember what I said, but I’m sure I had a lame excuse. He told me that the girls had voted for the Most Valuable Player on the team, and they had chosen me. I wasn’t there to accept that award. I was shocked that they had chosen me, proud, but also ashamed. Ashamed because I’d been too proud to imagine I had any value unless I was the star pitcher. I’d let a good year pass by miserably and I had missed the celebration.

As a kid you do the things you do because you love to do it. When you grow up, reality strikes and in a big way life becomes about making money. It’s a natural progression I suppose. In Christian communities, for women, it’s not so much about the money, but about the home making and children raising. Whatever you find yourself doing you wonder, is it enough? Enough for me? Enough for God? Enough in the eyes of others? Important enough? Impressive enough? Worthy? Valuable? Memorable? Continue reading

sanctification

Sanctification: Ugly, Hard, Beautiful, and Full of Grace

I recently asked myself the question: what word would I use to describe my own (slowly) progressing sanctification process? The first word that came to mind was “ugly.” The second was “hard.”

When God first took out my heart of stone and gave a heart of flesh, life was good. Life was in fact the best it had ever been. Salvation was awesome. The relief from shedding the weight of sin tangible, and I was ecstatic. Jesus was my new best friend and His word was my treasure. God kept me safe, if somewhat secluded, and gave me a peaceful year to sprout.

God knew what He was doing then, and He knew just how I needed to begin my Christian walk. It wasn’t so hard, or so ugly at first- it was mostly awe and reveling.

Life had become profoundly deep and meaningful, but looking back now I can see that my faith was still shallow. A seed in good soil to be certain, but vulnerable, with threadlike roots barely taking hold of ground.

But God is a faithful vine dresser; One wholly determined that His people bear fruit. And the best fruit doesn’t grow from trees planted in shallow soil, so He sets out to dig and to nourish (Luke 13:6-9). He labors to prune and cut every branch in me He sees that could bear more fruit. He wants me to see, and to feel that apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15:5). Continue reading

Hdr-Gethsemane

Gethsemane

Did I hear my Savior cry
And did I see Him suffer?
Did He with sorrow and in grief
Not ask “Is there another?”
“Another way for death to die,
Or must this bitter cup be mine?”
“The only way?”
He cried, He cried
And knowing, yes, bowed and complied.

“The hour comes, the hour comes,
Betrayer is at hand!”
Did I hear the Lord say “Stay?”
“Stay here, keep watch, while I go pray.”
Three times looked back
Three times asleep,
Without companions He must weep.

“Wake up! The Son of Man must go!”
As has been told so it unfolds
A kiss, with venom behind lips,
A friend, with feet swift to shed blood,
A silver flash, an ear in mud.

“But no, but no,
Away your sword,
It’s me you want-
I am the Lord.
Let these ones go, let these ones go,”
So turned and fled
All friends, for dead.

He gave:
His wrists to chains
His back to beat
His face to spit
His love to cheat
Kingship to mock
His grace to scorn
Omniscience taunt
Then fully torn-
A cross to bear
Nails to pin
Then lifted up
My soul to win.

“But no one takes my life”
He said, “I lay it down”
Laid it down when-
“Nevertheless your will be done”
Grandest surrender
By the greatest one
Bowed low in Gethsemane
He chose the blood stained path
For me.

Sanctificaiton

Sanctification and the Blood of Christ

I have been thinking a lot about sanctification lately, especially my own. Sanctification is that process by which Christians are made holy- that is, made more like the person of Jesus. There is a bewildering sense in which Christians are already sanctified. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).” “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession (1Peter 2:9).” “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:10).” We have been made holy by “Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood (Revelation 1:6).” Jesus bore the penalty for our sins and thereby broke the power of our sin. His righteousness was imputed to us when we first believed. It is these two truths that make it possible for God to look at us, reborn sinners who still sin, and to call us Holy and beloved.

This fact of sanctification, along with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the reality of a new nature in us, gives us great assurance of our salvation and our position before God. These realities give joy, peace and hope, and I would not shy away from rejoicing in them. I thank God that He has set me apart and declared me righteous, totally and completely apart from anything I have done. I know that kind of talk can make people nervous, but for the Christian it is truth, and for the Christian- it is truth that produces fruit.

But there is a second reality. It’s the reality that as “God’s people… (who) have received mercy” as “sojourners and exiles”, we must “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against (our) soul (1 Peter 2:11).” Continue reading

Roots

A Resting Place for Hope

I suppose you could consider this poem a modern take on the book of Ecclesiastes. It is not all based on my life, but in some sense it is the story of every person. We all strive for satisfaction, and all of us have placed hope in things that fail to provide it. There is only one place where hope can rest secure and sure- One living hope that endures forever.

A Resting Place for Hope

I thought to put my hope in friends
To mold and shape me by their trends
In their acceptance I would glow
And on their shoulders place my woes;
As long as they were by my side
I could survive life’s bumpy ride.

But friends, so sad to see
Did not revolve ’round me
Fair weather types abound
Rare shoulder to be found. Continue reading