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Archive for the category “Journey”

Grace in the Waiting

Photo Credit: John-Morgan (creative commons)

Photo Credit: John-Morgan (creative commons)

I love the Advent season. It’s such a beautiful time of reflection as we remember the coming of Jesus two thousand years ago.  I love to remember the birth of Jesus. I love to think about that night so long ago. It probably wasn’t nearly as shiny and pretty as our nativity scenes. It probably wasn’t very silent, but it was perfect. It was the perfect picture of grace.

Advent is also about waiting. It’s a few weeks of observing that period of anticipation of the coming of Jesus. Jesus came as a baby, and he’s coming again soon. He completed the story that God crafted from the beginning of time. The Christmas season, the season of Advent, is a beautiful time to remember and to wait.

Anticipation and waiting are truly part of the Christian journey. We wait for the completion of God’s promises. We wait for God to come through and show us why we went through our trials. We wait for our trials to end. We wait on good or bad news, jobs, spouses, and children. We have desires in our hearts but sometimes life seems like it’s mostly times of waiting. And many of those seasons of waiting can also be categorized as trials or storms. We may feel like we are alone in the storm, wondering if God has turned his back on us or has fallen asleep (See Mark 4:35-41). But as my pastor Louie said this morning:

“Life is full of storms, but storms are full of Jesus.”

Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting, but this season can also bring pain as we wait for times of peace or remember loved ones who are no longer with us. Or maybe money is tight and you don’t know how to explain to the kids about the lack of presents this year. Maybe you are far from home and feel alone. Maybe you’re struggling with a diagnosis or a deep loss. Just remember that in this season, there is grace. There’s grace in the waiting. God has given so much grace to us and loves YOU so very deeply. He is there in the storm, and he’s there in the quiet season of waiting.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Cor 12:9

Rest in the grace of God this season. Take quiet pauses to remember the coming of our Lord. And if you are going through a storm this season, remember that Jesus is right there with you. The tiny baby in a manger that we will celebrate in a couple short weeks is the creator of the universe, died for you, and is now walking this journey with you.

(Author’s Note: This post was inspired by a recent talk by Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church. A video of his message can be found at www.passioncitychurch.com)

Value

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This image was the first thing that came to mind when I think of the value of people. These are sweet children in southern Sudan. Their families were victims of a brutal civil war. God loves these little ones so deeply, even when the world forgot them.

I love people.

I really do. I think it’s amazing how different we are, yet we have so many things in common as well. I love to see people use their gifts to spread joy, help their neighbor, and provide for their families. I love watching communities come together in times of trial or crisis. I love big celebrations and times of fellowship. I am surrounded by some amazing people who I feel very blessed to know, and I truly do love people.

I also love seeing people feel empowered to reach their dreams. I love seeing a client realize that they can achieve their goals and can be self sufficient. I love hearing the passion exude from my students as they discover how they can truly help others for the first time. I love seeing the staff at my job do amazing things for their clients and in turn, have their clients achieve big milestones I am full on, 100% in the “helping profession”, and I love it. But most of all, I love people and I want to help people because I believe that people have value.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.- Psalm 139:13-15

 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” – Matthew 6:25-26 (emphasis mine)

We have value. If you follow Jesus and claim to believe His words then you know that God deeply loves his children and highly values people. According to scripture, man was made in the image of God. God sent his Son to the earth to walk among us, and He died for us. If that doesn’t speak of the value God places on us, then I’m not sure what does.

Our society has cheapened the concept of value, but in the simple definition, value means worth. It means to esteem something and hold it to be important. And if we establish our value, our worth as individuals, made and loved by God, then we can begin to understand the value that the people around us have. And when we understand the value that people have, then our heart breaks when injustice happens. When I am living my life with the idea that people have value, it is impossible for me to ignore the homeless man asking me for a couple dollars. Maybe I don’t have anything to give him, but I can at least look him in the eye, ask him his name, and show him that I see him. When I hear about children around the world who are starving and there is an opportunity to give, I take that opportunity. I pray for my friends who are struggling, and even more, I reach out to them to see how I can help. When people have value to me I can’t turn a blind eye to the millions trapped in slavery. I must use my voice, my time, my talents to fight for justice. When people have value to me I don’t allow words of affirmation to remain unsaid to the people I care about.

My friends, people have value. God loves you, and God loves the person who is sleeping under the I75 overpass in Atlanta tonight. God loves your neighbor and he loves the sweet babies whose stomachs are empty around the world tonight. God loves our elected officials and he loves the little girls trapped in sex slavery. We have value, and we need to fight for the rights of others so that they can discover their value and worth. I wholeheartedly believe that I am on this earth to fight for justice, help others and proclaim freedom. I believe God is most glorified when my actions match my words. As I’ve said many times before, I’m a bit of a mess and certainly miss the mark sometimes, but I really am trying.

When we all embrace the value God places on people and work together towards justice and grace, amazing things happen. So my question for you is this: What’s your part to play in showing the value people have? What’s your part to play in proclaiming freedom? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.

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