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More than Beautiful Dust

27 Aug

PigsWallow_PigForumI saw a picture of two pigs (a hog and a sow) in a mudhole.

The hog, with an exasperated expression, turned to the sow and said, “I think I’m having a mud-life crisis.”

In another picture, a huge Daddy hog placed his piggy arm around one of his piglets and pointed to a mudhole.

“Son,” Daddy Hog said with obvious pride, “In a few years, this will all be yours.”

Dr. David Jeremiah tells the story of a conversation between an atheist and God. The atheist challenged God, saying, “I can make a man, just like you say you did.”

“Ok,” says God. “Go for it.”

The atheist thought and said, “OK, first we’ll need some dirt.” 

And God said, “OK … but get your own dirt.” 

LOL!

Now this is going to feel like an odd transition, but stick with me. It’s all about dirt, mud and more.

Psalm 103 is an incredible testimony to the wonders of God’s mercy and grace. God loves His children, forgives their sins, and cares for those who fear Him with great compassion. It is God’s steadfast, eternal love, David said, that continues to sustain and blesses us.

But it was verse 14 that recently spoke to me in a deeper way:

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (ESV).

Dust.

In The Message, that verse reads this way:

“He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.”

Mud.

It was hard enough to read that I am dust … but MUD!

God does not forget what we are made of. He remembers He formed us from the dust, dirt and mud of earth (Genesis 2:7; 3:19). He remembers why He shows us such pity, such amazing mercy and grace.

Even the strongest of us have frail bodies, souls and minds compared to His matchless wonder. He understands our misery. God knows we are subject to decay, that we will be buried in the earth from whence we came.

Were it not for God’s great mercy, we would all be destroyed under the wrath we so completely deserve, for there is not one soul who seeks after God (Romans 3:11) without His touch from heaven.

And in His compassion He brings strength to our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

During our short time here on earth, as Christ-followers, we are being transformed.

I had a funny thought today. Yes, we are still dust, but …

As we are sanctified (made holy) with the truth of the Word and the Spirit as our tutor, we are becoming beautiful dust.

And we are destined to be MORE than beautiful dust!

We are becoming like Jesus, and in the final resurrection, our bodies will be changed. Glorified! Just as Jesus, in his resurrected body, retained the scars from His crucifixion (John 20:25, 27), even so our recognizable bodies will be resurrected.

We will receive transformed, “glorified” bodies like His (Philippians 3:20-21).  Our ‘perishable” body will be raised “imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:42, 51-52).

I sometimes forget I am destined for heaven, that I should live for eternity. I know I’m not alone in this forgetfulness. As the poet and author Carl Sandburg wrote (and not even in a theological sense):

“There’s an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”*

Ouch, right?

God wants me to mount up with wings as an eagle (Isaiah 40:31), but I keep sloshing around in the mud. I forget where I’m heading. But I rejoice God does not.

While I live on earth, I am the recipient of His incredible mercy, forgiveness and grace. And I am thankful this sinful, decaying body will be changed in eternity.

I am destined to be far more than beautiful dust.

 – (Note from Dawn: I know I have changed the imagery several times in this post. One minute I am mud; the next I’m sloshing around in mud. But I hope something, somewhere in this rambling spoke to your heart and encouraged you to live for the Lord today.)

 – *http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/mud.html

Graphic: Pigforum.com/Why-Wallow.html

 

The Fruit of God’s Love

26 Mar

Sorry. There’s really nothing funny about Resurrection Day. Oh there are lots of jokes about bunnies and Easter eggs, like:

  • Question: How many Easter eggs can you put in an empty basket
    • Answer: One. (After that, it’s not empty anymore!)
  • Question: How does the Easter bunny stay in shape?
    • Answer: Hareobics.
  • Question: What does the Easter Bunny have on his I-Pod?
    • Answer: Hip-Hop!

But jokes about Jesus who died on the cross for our sins and then rose to give us new life?

No. That’s not a joking matter.

But it IS a time for celebration. I can laugh out loud with joy that Jesus overcame death and the evil one and now calls people to new life.

About four weeks ago, I saw a sign at Hobby Lobby that was a play on the old Trix cereal commercial. The sign read:

Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus.

SillyRabbit_EasterIsForJesus_SignSeenAtHobbyLobbyWhile funny—and I did laugh—the sign isn’t completely accurate.

Easter is a secular holiday to celebrate spring; Resurrection Day is “for Jesus.”

(In truth, for the Christian every day is supposed to be for Jesus, but I’m making a point here.)

There are at least two days most Christians hold as sacred and celebrate: Christmas and Resurrection Day (which many still call Easter). They both commemorate something special about the Lord we love. 

It’s been my choice through the years to keep these days special, because in the midst of all the “fun stuff,” I want to honor Him.

Thomas Cotterill wrote these words that remind me why I love this day:

On this auspicious morn The Lord of Life arose;

He burst the bars of death, And vanquished all our foes:

And now He pleads our cause above,

And reaps the fruits of all His love.*

When I read that I suddenly thought: Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am a “fruit of all His love!”

Today, my prayer is,

“Thank you, Jesus, for this and every Resurrection Day that reminds us what You did for us! Thank you that I am the fruit of Your love.”

Jesus, God’s Son:

CrossOnBlue_ChristIsRisen_HCTSaves and redeems us (Ephesians 1:7-10; Colossians 1:13-14).

Forgives us (1 John 1:8-10; Luke 24:47; Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Makes us holy (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 10:10; Romans 6:18; 12:1-2).

Gives us life with Him now and forever (John 3:16; 11:25-26; 17:3; 1 John 2:25).

Understanding God’s way of salvation isn’t hard, but people are free to believe or not.

The Lord made the way of salvation plain

Do you know Jesus—not just do you know about Him, but are you living in a relationship with Him? If you know the Lord, celebrate this Resurrection Day with joy and peace in your heart!

 – * Hymn: “Awake, Ye Saints, Awake” by Thomas Cotterill.

 – Dawn

No Sweat

12 Aug

Jodi Whisenhunt wrote a post titled “You Know It’s Too Hot When…” for The Christian Post (8-1-12). Her “You know…” thoughts made me LOL on a very hot day in August.

You know it’s too hot when…

1 ) You fry your morning eggs on the front walk.
2 ) Your neighbor brings over cookies she baked in her car.
3 ) Your swimming pool turns into a hot tub.
4 ) Your hot tub is bubbling and it’s not turned on.
5 ) Your aerosol sunscreen shoots flames.
6 ) Your dog sheds her coat bald when she steps outside.
7 ) You drop two pounds in perspiration just by walking out the door.
8 ) You get a second degree burn when you touch the handle of your car door.
9 ) The hummingbirds are fanning the squirrels.
10 ) The ice cream truck melts.

OK… maybe it’s not quite that hot. But I’m sweating, and I’m not a sweaty person.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “No sweat”? No sweat can mean no trouble, no difficulty, or even “Don’t worry; it’s a done deal.” As I languished in the heat, the thought suddenly occurred to me that there is at least one thing in life where I can honestly say, “No sweat.”

Death? No sweat.

This may seem like a strange topic for an LOL with God post, but hang with me.

The Proverbs 31 woman could “laugh at days to come” because she was “clothed with strength and dignity” (31:25). Although the process of dying may be painful and difficult, there is a kind of joy ~ a sense in which we can laugh at death, knowing we will overcome it in Christ! We can clothe ourselves in strength and dignity, even in our last days.

Many people are afraid of death ~ “sweating out” the end of their lives. If this describes you (you are afraid of death or dying), let me encourage you today with the Word of God. The Word makes a world of difference. I have a friend who lived in fear of death for many years, but as she began to read and embrace the truth of scripture concerning her end of days, she found peace and hope.

I can honestly say, when it comes to my eternal destination, “No sweat ~ It’s a done deal.” Not because of any good I’ve done, but because of the rich, undeserved love of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 3:16-18) . Because He gave me eternal life in His Son and made me His child (John 17:3; 1 John 3:2; 5:13).

The grave is not the end! The believer knows that death is as simple as “falling asleep” on earth and awakening with God where we will live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17).

Jesus came to free us from the fear of dying ~ the “sting” and power of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-55; Hebrews 2:14-15) ~ but also from death itself (eternal death).  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die….” (John 11:25-26). We will be united with Jesus in His resurrection (Romans 6:5).

Though there may be a season of suffering before death, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have true hope for our future (1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). We can face death with confidence and courage. We already have “citizenship” in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we will be welcome there. I can rest in God’s love both now and forever. One of the joys of heaven is that death will be “swallowed up” forever as God wipes away all sorrow and tears (Isaiah 25:8; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

One of the struggles I’ve always had concerning death is my fears for those I might leave behind. But God even has an answer for that. He is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5) and we can hand over our fears, worries, and anxieties for our loved ones to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He loves them even more than we do, and will not forsake them.

Do I want to die? Yes and no. I understand Paul’s pull toward heaven, even while deeply involved in ministry and love for the people in this life (Philippians 1:21-25). I want to go home to heaven, but I am so attached to friends and family here. The truth is, whether on earth or in heaven, I belong to the Lord and live for His purposes (Romans 14:8); and it’s my job to figure out the works God has prepared for me to do before He calls me home (Ephesians 2:10).

But death itself? No sweat … I am secure and satisfied in the One who loves me, redeemed me, and has eternal plans for my life.

Can you say “No sweat!” as you look toward the end of your days? Can you laugh at your future, knowing you are safe with God? Or do you still have some concerns? Do you know someone who faced death with incredible peace and hope? I’d love to hear your story.

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