Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 80 - Separation

"No aspect of the created order, nor any event or being within it, can end our enjoyment of the active love of God to us in Christ." Commentary on Romans 8:38, 39

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38, 39

I found about 15 pink balloons tied with red, white, and green ribbon in the trees across from my house. They had all popped and were hanging limply in the branches. I wondered if there would be a message on them and there was. I brought them home and tried to carefully pull the melded balloons apart so I could read all the writings. Only one clearly stuck out. I give it to you now.

"My fairytale prince and I are still doing amazing.
I love him so so so much! I am going to marry him.
I wish you could be there and be in the wedding.
We will dance for you!"

Whether these came from across town or across the United States, the message was meant for someone else. Someone no longer here. Someone dear to the writer. An event was about to happen of great importance to the sender of the balloons and a loved one would be missing. Was it a father? Was it a mother? Or a best friend who died too soon?

We do not know. But someone was missing. Someone was gone.

Our scripture in Romans reminds us once again that though we lose a loved one and can be separated by death from friends and family, we can never, never, never be separated from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This scripture also reminds me that what I worry about is not of greater importance than the sure and constant love that I have in Christ. I am never alone, never abandoned. This scripture reminds me that even my sin can not separate me from the love of God because I believe and accept that Christ paid for all of yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's failings.

And this love has a greater ability to bring us peace and joy than any human love on earth! Let us thank Him right now for this inseparable love.

Deuteronomy 31:8 "And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 79 - Women Helpers

"We can do without anything while we have God." Lilias Trotter 1853-1928 missionary to North Africa

"After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means." Luke 8:1-3 New International Version

"...and many others (women) who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and His disciples." Luke 8:3 The Message

The women. They were there.They loved Him, served Him, followed Him, gave of their provision.

Jesus could have lived everyday by the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He could have pulled money from the Sea of Galilee out of the mouth of a fish whenever He wanted. But He did the ordinary thing of letting the women He saved cook for Him, go to market, bake the bread, use their own savings to provide for Him and His beloved disciples.

They stood ready to serve. They heard and believed the lessons taught on the mountainside and in the temple. They watched Jesus die and wept for their loss. "Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed Him and cared for His needs. Many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem were also there." Mark 15:40,41

These women felt like Lilias Trotter who could serve on a dusty road, go without the finery, and be misunderstood by their society because after all: "We can do without anything while we have God."

I want to be like those women who gave up to go. Most important to them was to be close to Jesus. He had set them free. Their freedom led them to serve.

How beautiful of our LORD to include us in His world wide plans for ministry. And it may only be by fixing a meal. But that was important enough that it is included in the Bible. God's word deemed it inspired.

Thank You, Father, that You placed women in the scriptures to show us how we, too, may serve You. But also, it makes us feel so loved to see how You ordained works for us to do before the beginning of the world and included us as an important part of Your ministry. Help us to love You so much that we can say "I can do without anything because I have You. In Jesus name, Amen.