Monday, April 27, 2015

Afterthought


Go into a random store the day before a major holiday like Christmas or Easter, or days set aside to remember and honor those we love -- Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day -- and you’ll no doubt find a shelf filled with dubious looking items for sale (like a scented candle in the shape of a mini cupcake or a necktie sporting a pheasant) underneath a sign touting them as ‘Last Minute Gift Ideas.’ I’ve even seen one that read 


‘Last Minute Gifts for that Special Someone’ 

Listen – if that someone was THAT special, why would you wait until the dead last minute to buy them a gift (limited incomes and off pay weeks notwithstanding)? Yes, nothing says ‘I Love You’ like a tiny lump of wax resembling pastry, a gaudy tie, or some other lame item from the Clearance section of your local WalMart.

Or how about this one? Have you ever been told by someone:




“I asked all my other friends if they wanted to come with me to ­­_____  (fill in the blank here with some event or destination) but they all said ‘No’....and then I remembered YOU!”

Wow. Gee, thanks. Really, I'm honored.

Over the years, I’ve been the recipient of last minute gifts and invites; sometimes even left out entirely (intentionally or unintentionally) of one get-together or another. And sad to say, I’ve done the same to others.

It’s an awful thing to come face-to-face with the reality of being someone’s afterthought. Or even worse – realizing that you weren’t even thought about at all. As in totally off the radar. Not even on the list. Forgotten.

Thankfully, this isn’t how God operates. You’re not an afterthought to Him. In fact, the psalmist has this to say:

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can't even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

And in Isaiah 49:15-16, God says, Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of My hands.


I like the Amplified Bible version of verse 16 even better: Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands.

Today and every day, grab on and hold tightly to this awesome, wonderful and comforting TRUTH that you are always on God's mind, that you are ever in His thoughts. You are never His last pick for the team; you aren't the recipient of some thoughtless, last minute gift; you are not a postscript to a letter written long ago but never mailed; nor a forgotten child left home alone. 

Instead, know that you are chosen, holy and dearly loved by the Father, Who is Love.


You are NOT forgotten. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Wisdom for the Way


Whether the journey is effortless or challenging,
the landscape lush or barren;

Whether the path is uncertain or familiar,
the terrain rocky or smooth;

Whether the seas are stormy or calm,
the skies cloudy or clear;

Whether the cup is full or near empty,
the drink bitter or sweet;

Whether the future is bright with promise or hidden in shadows
And you’re overwhelmed with joy or dread….


Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Whom Do You Seek?

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag′dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; 5 and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, 7 and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo′ni!” (which means Teacher). ~ John 20:1-16, Revised Standard Version

Out of all the stories in the Bible, the account in which Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Christ at the empty tomb is among my favorites.

I’m struck by several things here: that Jesus first reveals His resurrected self to a woman, entrusting her with the joyful task of announcing to the disciples that He is indeed risen – quite the radical and amazing act for that particular time in history, but that was Jesus – and Mary Magdalene’s love for and devotion to Jesus, which is so evident in her returning a second time to the empty tomb – to mourn the loss of her Lord, yes….but also, to search for His body so that she can bring Him back to the grave site.

'Why Weepest Thou?' by Simon Dewey
And then there are The Questions Jesus asks Mary when, as she’s weeping by the tomb’s entrance, she suddenly turns to find Him standing there, although she doesn’t recognize Him. Jesus, being Jesus, surely knows the answers to both questions, yet asks them anyway:

“Woman, why are you weeping?” and “Whom do you seek?”

It’s the second question that gets to me. Because I believe it’s a question that Jesus continues to ask even today, of each of us.

“Whom do you seek?”

A grief-stricken Mary Magdalene was seeking the lifeless body of Jesus: her Master, her Teacher, her Friend, her Lord. But once Jesus tenderly spoke her name and recognition hit Mary like a tidal wave, whom she found must have rocked her to her core. Whom she found was a very much alive Jesus, the Risen Lord; the Resurrection and the Life.

In this world, we seek many things: Fame, fortune, friendships. Answers to difficult questions and desperate prayers. Help, happiness, healing and hope. While there are many different people, places and paths through which we can seek to find any of them, there is only One in whom true and total fulfillment of any of our desires and needs can be found: Jesus, the Christ; the Risen Lord, the Living God, the Resurrection and the Life.


When Jesus whispers, “Whom do you seek?” what will your answer be?
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